Get to Know: Lewis Baumann
Thursday, March 29, 2012

Junior Lewis Baumann found his way to Bemidji State in 2009 by the way of Colorado Springs, Colo. and has emerged as the Beavers’ starting shortstop and top small-ball player. With family and former coaching ties to Minnesota, Baumann has traded elevation and mountains for lakes and miles and miles of trees with no regrets. We sat down with Lewis to talk about his journey to BSU and his experiences so far as a Beaver.

Why did you choose Bemidji State University?

My parents are both from Minnesota and I wanted to get back up here again. I have aunts, uncles and grandparents that are up here. I wanted to get back to Minnesota and had an opportunity to come here. Also, my high school coach played under Tim (head coach Tim Bellew) at Kansas Wesleyan, so that was my connection. I got here, loved the area and I’m so happy I chose Bemidji.  

At 6-2 you are a little taller than the average shortstop, have you always played short?

I started out as a first basemen when I was younger. I played with a couple of kids and they got a little bit older and they weren’t on the team anymore and we needed a shortstop so I switched over to shortstop when I was about 13 and I’ve been there ever since.  

How was your transition from high school to college ball?

It was rough for me, I came in and didn’t really know what to expect. It showed my first year that I really had some struggles, but I think I worked hard and picked it up and it’s gotten better throughout the years.

The last two season with the BBCOR bats, how has that changed the game for you both as a position player and as a hitter?

Last year was different both offensively and defensively. When you were playing defense you couldn’t hear the whole ting anymore so you had to read balls a little different and that changed the way you play defense. With hitting, the balls not going to go as far, your not going to get as much pop and its changed the way we hit too. We’ve got to situational hit and bunt, move guys over, it’s not a power game anymore.  

Has the change helped you having been mostly in that 8-9 spot this year, trying to set up players or try to get on base for those players at the top of the line-up?

The short game is an important part of my game, it’s kind of my role as being the nine hitter, just to role the line up over, just try to get on base and get guys over so that the guys on top can drive in the runs for the team.

Defensively, how has the BBCOR bats changed the way you field the ball, knowing it won’t be coming back to you at 100 mph?

You have a little more time out there, and that’s nice, but also when the ball gets there slower you have to get rid of it faster, so it’s a trade off both ways.  

What’s your favorite part of the game of baseball?

My favorite part is defense. It’s always kind of showed, I haven’t been the greatest hitter throughout my career, but defense is something I’ve always taken pride in and its something I can control when I’m out there. It doesn’t matter if you have a bad at bat, you can always go out and play some defense and try and help the team that way.  

Is there any certain memory of baseball that sticks out in your mind?

I had never been to a professional baseball game and I went to a Minnesota Twins game in the Metrodome and I just remember being there and it was such an amazing experience. Everyone says they don’t like the dome or whatever, but I love playing there, I think it’s one of the most fun places that we play and I really enjoy the time we spend there.  

How is it playing in a big league facility like that?

It’s fun. You’re going to get good hops out there because of the turf obviously. It’s a big park so the gaps are big and there’s a lot of room to bang the ball around.

Baseball is a game of rituals and superstitions, what are yours?

Yeah, there are superstitions all over. Last weekend we had a good first day at Concordia and we wanted to eat the same thing for breakfast and do the same thing in the morning, but they didn’t have the same breakfast so everyone was kind of thrown out of the loop because it’s not good to change a baseball player’s habits that they have and just whenever something works, you stick with it and when it doesn’t you switch so its just trying to find the right combination.  

How about your ritual with the second baseman in-between innings.

Yeah, last weekend it was working where the second basemen would catch it on the throw down and he would flip it up and then I would bat it into the ground and I would pick it up and throw it to third base.  It started one time as an accident, we had a good inning and from there we just kept doing it. I guess it worked for us.

What habits have you developed playing baseball all your life?

I chew sunflower seeds a lot. It’s just a part of the game. Being outside. You can’t do that when you’re playing basketball, spitting seeds out on the court, but when your playing baseball you can spit them anywhere and it’s just part of the game I feel like.  

You had a pretty nice flow coming out of the back of your baseball cap last season and this year’s mug shot you are rocking a mustache. Talk a little bit about your hairstyle and facial hairstyle since you have entered college.

I was pretty clean cut in high school. I got to college and I kind of just started to experiment with it and the hair got long and out of control. I just kept going with it and was able to donate it last Christmas for cancer patients, so I am glad it could go to a good cause. Now I’m trying to get it back. When it comes to the facial hair its whatever’s working, it’s the superstition thing again.  

Being from Colorado Springs and having all sorts of outdoor activities at your finger tips, have you translated your Colorado experiences into Bemidji?

I love fishing, in Colorado we do a little bit of it, and in Minnesota obviously there’s way more. The fishing is a lot better here. But I do miss the mountains back in Colorado, but then when I’m there, I miss all the lakes and the woods and the trees that we have up here, so it’s kind of a trade off.  

Do you feel the elevation difference when you go back to Colorado or come back here to Bemidji?

Yeah, when I’ve been here for a while and then I go back to Colorado I notice it’s a little tougher to breathe, the air is a little thinner. Once I’m there for a while it helps coming back with conditioning and running, I have a little advantage over everyone else.