Assumption's Trenton Wallace
Career arc: Near the end of his freshman season, Wallace was moved up to the varsity squad. He pitched four innings of relief and earned the victory in the team’s state semifinal victory over Waverly-Shell Rock.
Wallace dropped only one decision in the past two summers, that being a 1-0 loss to Central DeWitt and future Missouri pitcher T.J. Sikkema in last year’s district final.
With a fastball in the upper 80s from the left side and a sharp breaking ball, Wallace struck out 13 in Assumption’s 10-1 championship win over Harlan.
He’s been just as productive at the plate, hitting better than .400 each of the past two seasons and earning all-state accolades as a sophomore, junior and senior.
“I wish we could have won state championships my sophomore and junior year, but we ran into a good kid,” Wallace said. “I don’t regret those losses because it invoked confidence going into my senior year. It told me, ‘Hey, I can pitch with these guys, I can play with these guys.’”
His pitching numbers illustrate dominance. His hitting often gets overshadowed. Wallace struck out only 10 times in more than 320 plate appearances the past two years.
“My hitting came alive more this season,” he said. “I was putting the ball in play more often and having quality at-bats."
Common goal: Wallace had bookend state championships with Assumption’s baseball program, his freshman and senior seasons.
The Knights were a surprise champion in 2014 going to the state tournament with a 23-15 record.
“Guys like Jake Gervase, Mick Baker and Zach Adrian, I looked up to them,” he said.
Assumption won 30 or more games Wallace’s sophomore and junior seasons but came up short in the postseason.
Everything meshed this summer with three Division I pitchers and a slew of seniors in the starting lineup.
“Everyone talks about the talent, but it was the togetherness of the team,” Wallace said. “Whenever we got down or when we went into a slump, nobody pointed the blame. This was our team and we knew what we had to do together to make a championship run together.
“We had a bunch of fighters my freshman year. We had talented teams the past two years. This year, we had talent but also had the determination to get it done.”
Added strength: Assumption’s coaching staff has raved about Wallace’s baseball IQ since he’s been in the program. Much of that can be attributed to growing up around the game with his father serving as Augustana College's baseball coach.
He’s made the weight room a priority in the past year.
“I never really had a weight program until my senior year,” he said. “I hit the weights pretty hard the first semester with my dad’s physical trainer. He’d have me on strict lifts.”
Even in a short period of time, the 6-foot-1 and 185-pounder could tell a difference on the baseball field.
“Definitely with the bat, I felt I had a little more control at the plate and could control the bat head more with two strikes,” he said. “In terms of pitching, I just felt more consistent with my velocity throughout the whole game.”
On deck: Wallace already has gotten a head start on the next chapter of his playing career at the University of Iowa. The Hawkeyes, representing the USA National Team, are preparing for a trip to Taiwan next week for the World University Games.
Wallace won’t make the trip overseas, but he has spent the past week practicing with the Hawkeyes in Iowa City.
How much of an impact will Wallace make next spring for the black and gold? That is yet to be determined.
“Talent wise, I’m in really good shape in terms of my skill on the field,” Wallace said. “I need to make improvements in the weight room and get my strength up. As a freshman, you’re usually one of the weaker kids on the team. I’ve got to build that up.
“I’ve got to find a way and get to a point where I’m an impact player on the team.”
Wallace said the goal is still to be a two-way player. The outfield is a possibility besides pitching.
“Fall is a big time in the college season,” Wallace said. “I’ve got to have a good fall to make an impression. I need to go in with the same confidence as always and show the coaches that I can be one of those guys.”
— Compiled by Matt Coss