Nick Altermatt off to a fast start at MSU

MANKATO — Nick Altermatt would like to tell people that he expected this type of start to his freshman season of baseball at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

But he can’t.

The former Wabasso High School standout athlete and last year’s All-Journal Baseball Player of the Year is off to a fast start in his first year at MSU (27-8). He’s starting at shortstop and hitting .371 with 49 hits, 35 RBIs and a team-leading 10 doubles. He is third on the team in both hits and RBIs and he hasn’t missed a single game yet this season, starting all 35 games.

Add all that to the fact that he wasn’t even originally brought in to play shortstop, let alone start there.

“I was actually supposed to be an outfielder when they recruited me, so I wasn’t really expecting to play much, I figured we had a pretty good outfield already,” Altermatt said. “Then the second day of practice, they moved me to shortstop and from there I just kept practicing and working hard. Then eventually, Week 1 comes around and I’m at the starting spot, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is really happening.'”

Altermatt has taken that big leap into the starting lineup with pride and has been making his team and coaches proud in the process. He’s the only starting freshman position player for his team this year and he’s making enough plays and getting enough hits to maintain his role in the lineup.

“I’d like to say it was expected, but I don’t really think it was,” Altermatt said of his success this season. “Kind of surprised myself a little bit, I guess. Just thinking, ‘How could a freshman come in and play shortstop for this good of a DII team?'”

Altermatt said that there hasn’t been too much of an adjustment for him at the college level but admitted that it did take a little while for him to catch up to the speed of the game and the velocity that the pitchers threw at.

“The speed of the game — it just goes by a lot quicker,” Altermatt said. “Also, the biggest thing is just trying to slow the game down mentally to get the most out of your play. But then again, velocity comes in. That was another thing to get used to right away my first couple weeks here. Just seeing pitchers throw that much harder, it took a while to adapt to that.”

With the numbers Altermatt has put up so far hitting in the top of the lineup, it’s safe to say that he has adapted to college ball quite well.

In addition to sharing a common team goal of winning a DII championship, Altermatt said that he doesn’t have too many personal goals for himself, instead choosing to just do what he can to help win ballgames.

“I don’t really set too many personal goals, I just try to do what I can to help the team,” he said.