It takes more than athleticism to be able to play on the baseball diamond after high school. It takes a complete package of smarts, grit, and discipline to be able to continue playing the game on a competitive level.
Appropriately, for a man named Will Altemueller, he has plenty of will power to do just that. Altemueller, a senior at Elkin High School, signed his letter of intent to study at Pfeiffer University while playing baseball. Altemueller has been a Buckin’ Elk for the past two seasons, and has been solid on the mound, as well as in the classroom.
“He’s probably the most mature 17-year-old I’ve ever been around, and his determination and work ethic are above all… one of the best I’ve had,” Elkin Head Coach Nick Tomlin said.
Transitioning from playing at one school to another was a challenge, but Altemueller has taken great value in it, making him all the more valuable to Pfeiffer University.
“I think the biggest thing was learning how to be a leader. Same with football, Coach Tomlin has really pushed for being a leader. You can’t always be the quiet one, you’ve got to lead by example,” Altemueller said.
Leading by example is one of Altemueller’s strongest suits now, as on the mound, Altemueller improved his strikeout total from 90 his sophomore year to 110 his junior year. His strong improvement was rewarded as he had the opportunity to perform in front of scouts at the Powerade State Games in Raleigh over the summer.
Last year, the team made it to the Final Four in the state tournament, and if it is to duplicate that this upcoming season, the players will have to do it without one of their key components. While they only lost one senior, Daniel Brinegar was a strong leader on the team, but Altemueller noted his impact on the team will help him and the Buckin’ Elks even if he’s not on the field.
“Daniel is one of my best friends, and he taught me to go beyond just you and do it with the team,” Altemueller said.
Altemueller was one of seven juniors on the varsity team last year, so it won’t surprise anyone if there are more signings in the coming weeks. For now, Altemueller can enjoy the spotlight, but more importantly, continue to do the right things that earned him this honor. Look for Altemueller and the team to be contenders once again for the state championship when the season begins in early March.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.