The 2020 college baseball season is only two weekends in, and one of the standout players on the team this year is already recognized as junior and corner outfielder Andrew Ollwerther. He has a big role going into the season, and has been hitting cleanup and doing well at it.
Head Coach Dave Lorber talked about Ollwerther in his first year coaching him.
“I think [Ollwerther] as a player and a person go hand in hand,” Lorber said. “I think what stands out about him is his genuine care of others and his genuine care for his teammates on a daily basis. He is so selfless in his work and his commitment.”
Ollwerther started playing baseball when he was five years old. He started taking baseball seriously after his first travel baseball team when he was eight years old. Ollwerther played for his town’s travel baseball team in Whitehouse, New Jersey, when he was 12 years old, transitioning to club baseball at 13 years old and playing for multiple teams throughout middle school and high school.
“At first it’s scary,” Ollwerther said. “You’re nervous, you’re anxious, it’s your first high school tryout or practice where you’re trying to show your talents. Everybody is showing up for the first freshman tryout. I think there were 60 of us and they cut the team down to about 19 or 20 guys.”
Ollwerther wanted to continue playing baseball at the college level, but there were not a lot of options even after a solid high school career. Ollwerther was between Montclair State University and Scranton University and ultimately chose Montclair State.
As a freshman at Montclair State, Ollwerther played in 36 games and started 35 of them. He had 30 hits, 11 of those being for extra bases. He also scored 21 runs and had an on-base percentage of .373.
There are many changes from high school baseball to the college level.
“When you get to college, the speed of the game is just so much better,” Ollwerther said. “Every at-bat matters. The biggest difference for me was the pitching. In college any pitcher can throw any pitch in any count for a strike and you don’t know really what’s coming until you figure out how they’re going to pitch you.”
Much improvement came in his second year as Ollwerther continued to be a full-time starter, with a batting average of .282. Even though he had a less total at-bats, Ollwerther still had 31 hits, 11 extra base hits and 14 runs batted in, along with 21 runs scored, 18 walks and .412 on-base percentage.
Ollwerther made many adjustments to make himself the best he can be.
“I definitely calmed down a little bit sophomore year,” Ollwerther said. “Freshman year I was always pretty anxious and I chased a lot. Sophomore year I felt more comfortable, I knew I had already done it before and everything clicked for me.”
Throughout the seven games he has played in the current baseball season, Ollwerther is crushing the ball. He is 10 for 25 from the plate, knocking in 11 runs.
Lorber spoke about Ollwerther’s progression in his batting at Montclair State.
“[Ollwerther] has taken quality at-bats depending on what the situation is that dictates what the team needs and that’s really special,” Lorber said. “The evolution of [Ollwerther’s] swing has changed even in my short time here and I have made some adjustments and I give him all the credit for sticking with it.”