Plover native Mallek looks to return to World Series with La Crosse
Plover native and former Stevens Point Area Senior High
School (SPASH) pitcher Logan Mallek will look to end his college baseball
career with another trip to the NCAA Division III College World Series.
After helping the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL)
baseball team finish as the Division III National Runner-up last year, Mallek
has taken on an expanded role out of the bullpen as a senior this season.
La Crosse (35-8) is ranked fourth in the nation and hosting
an eight-team NCAA Division III Regional Wednesday through Sunday, May 18-22,
where the winner will advance to the Division III World Series in Appleton next
“There are 11 seniors this year, and every one of us are
fighting for each other, as well as the underclassmen, to keep the season
going,” said Mallek. “That’s like last year, you know how it feels to come up just
short of a National Championship, and we don’t want that feeling to happen
“So we’re just taking one game at a time,” he said.
Mallek was a Unanimous First Team All-Wisconsin Valley
Conference (WVC) and Second Team All-State pitcher as a senior at SPASH when he
helped the Panthers reach the WIAA Division 1 State Semifinals in 2012, and
signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at NJCAA Division 1 Indian
Hills Community College (Iowa).
After seeing limited action in one season at Indian Hills,
Mallek decided to transfer to La
Crosse, where he pitched in two games as a sophomore
before he suffered a season-ending injury.
“Going to Indian Hills for a year, I realized that there’s a
lot of people that are trying to go for the same things that I am,” said
Mallek, who returned home the summer after his freshman season at Indian Hills
to play for the Stevens Point Sixers American Legion Baseball team, and set the
program record with 20 strikeouts in a game in his final start at Bukolt Park.
“The ultimate dream is to go to the majors, but realizing
everyone out there is working as hard as you can to make it to the next level
and be successful, it’s a big awakening.
“To pitch in Division III, we don’t get scholarships or
anything like that, so we have to play for the love of the game and work as hard
as we can for the love of the game, as well as keep our grades up,” he said. “I
had two jobs in the fall when it wasn’t baseball season, so I had to work to make
some money and keep me on top of everything this spring. It’s a tough process,
but personally, playing Division III baseball, it’s been a great feeling.”
Last season as a junior, Mallek saw action in 12 games out
of the bullpen and finished 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA for La Crosse, which went 0-2 at the Wisconsin
Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Tournament but still received an
at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Regionals.
There, La Crosse
won three consecutive elimination games to earn a trip to the College World
Series, where it went 3-1 to advance to the best-of-three National Championship
Series, before it lost the first two games to SUNY-Cortland to finish as the
“When we got that at-large bid to get into a Regional, we
knew that we had to step up if we wanted to keep our season going,” said
Mallek. “And during the Regional we played really well, our bats started going
and our pitching was on.
“Then when we made it to the World Series, it went so fast
that you sometimes had to stop and realize where you were at the moment,” said
Mallek, who allowed one earned run in two and 1/3 innings out of the bullpen at
the World Series. “And to make a run like that, it’s just awesome to be part of
something special like that.
“The first year going to the World Series in UWL history,
being a part of that is special for me personally, as well as for every
individual on the team,” he said.
With the departure of Honorable Mention All-American closer
Jameson Sadowske, Mallek looked to take on an increased role out of the bullpen
as a senior for La Crosse
In a team-high 12 appearances entering the Regional this
week, Mallek is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 26 and 2/3 innings, as he as walked 12
and struck out 37 and limited opponents to a team-best .161 batting average
this season, as he was named Honorable Mention All-WIAC.
“We’re playing well this year,” said Mallek. “We graduated a
lot of senior pitching, so our bullpen had to step up, our new starters had to
“And getting into a role of coming out of the pen was pretty
cool for me,” he said.
During the final week of the regular season, Mallek earned
the win in relief after he tossed three and 1/3 shutout innings in a 9-4 win at
home over St. Olaf (Minn.)
May 4. In his last college appearance in Stevens
Point two days later, he struck out seven, walked one
and allowed two hits in five shutout innings to earn the victory in a 7-6 win
in 10 innings over UWSP.
For his efforts, Mallek was named the WIAC Pitcher of the
Week and to the D3baseball.com Team of the Week for May 2 through 8, after he
went 2-0, struck out 12 in eight and 2/3 shutout innings and held opponents to
a .143 batting average.
“I definitely did not expect that at all,” said Mallek.
“Against St. Olaf I came into a tough spot, I pitched three innings, no runs or
“And then coming into Point, I just realized that, ‘it’s my
senior year, I’m playing against the team that I watched growing up,’ so I had
to make the best of my opportunities, and it worked out well for me,” he said.
“It was a fun game to be a part of, with my family being there, and I saw a
bunch of people down the foul line that would say ‘hi’ to me, who I haven’t
seen in four or five years.”
La Crosse won the WIAC Regular Season Title with an 18-2
record and then went 3-0 at home last weekend to win the WIAC Tournament and
receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, where it was selected to host
an NCAA Regional this week.
Top-seeded La Crosse opened the double-elimination Regional
with a 17-2 win over eighth-seeded Beloit (27-13) Wednesday, May 18, and was
set to face Saint John’s (Minn.) Thursday, May 19.
The winner of the eight-team Regional will advance to the
NCAA Division III World Series at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton May 27 through
June 1, and Mallek hopes to be able to make another run at a National
Championship with his teammates.
“It’s such a cool feeling, being a part of something that’s
so close, like it’s actually a family,” said Mallek. “I never thought I would
be in a team setting that was as close as my high school team, because we grew
up playing together since we were young, but the past three years we’ve been
with each other nonstop, pretty much every day during school and sometimes
during the summer and everything.
“We’re so close that it makes us want to fight for every win
that we can during the season,” he said. “It showed during this season, and
we’ve worked so hard to get to the place that we are at right now.
“And it’s like, ‘let’s just keep it going,’” he said.