Neumann making new strides on WSC baseball team after recovering from injury

Brianna Parsons , Staff Writer

Three strikes and you’re out and grand slams being hit! For senior CJ Neumann, life brought him more than three chances with baseball. For as long as he could remember, baseball has been a part of him for almost his whole life.

Starting at a young age, baseball was always Neumann’s first love.

“My mom taught me how to hit,” Neumann said. “My parents got me my first T-ball set before I started walking. Playing with my friends during the summer and going on baseball trips really kept me playing.”

Over the years, Neumann has many achievements and honors that led him to want to play college baseball.

“I was named to first and second teams along with some honorable mentions in high school and being able to get scholarships to continue playing the game I love,” Neumann said.

Playing for McCook Community College for two years was a great time for Neumann.

“I started short stop both years,” Neumann said. “It got me to where I am today. We lost in the semifinals of the region nine tournament.”

Sophomore year at McCook went awry for Neumann after enduring a wrist injury in 2017. As a result, he had to take the rest of the season off.

“I broke my scaphoid colliding with a first baseman and had to have a screw and wires in my wrist to hold it in place,” Neumann said. “I started again when I came to Wayne in the fall of 2018. I’m glad that Coach Clark [from McCook] and Coach Koch at Wayne State were able to believe in me, and able to help me get back on the field to play the game I love.”

Loving the sport, the challenge and his teammates keeps Neumann going.

“Winning is a passion, always wanting to get better so when the team needs you in any game you can come up big for them every way you can,” Neumann said.

Neumann sees baseball as a sport that challenges you with many ups and downs. Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive when it seems like you can’t buy a hit.

“Knowing your teammates have your back and pick you up is something that helps you overcome the challenges within the game,” Neumann said. “Coming off wrist surgery is one of the most challenging things for me personally.”

Neumann focuses on teamwork and pushing his teammates teammates and a lot of great memories come along with great friends who become your family.

“I love playing for Wayne State,” Neumann said. “Coach Clark, who recruited me, brought me here because he believed in me and liked the way I played the game. Here at Wayne everyone here challenges themselves to get better every day; it’s another family that you can count on in any way whether it’s on the field or off.”

Neumann is pursuing a degree in sport management at Wayne State. With constantly being on the road or at a game, the people around him are aware that baseball is a priority to him and allows for a better educational experience.

“Teachers are very understanding of how much we have to miss due to make up games and games during the week,” Neumann said. “With teachers like that, it makes it better for student athletes to keep up their grades and make sure we are eligible for our season.

“[It is] a lot of late nights of catching up on homework or doing assignments in the hotels or on the bus.”

Neumann’s baseball career is coming to an end along with his college career, as graduation is just around the corner. From his time at McCook Community College, Neumann earned his fire fighter degree and once he graduates will pursue his dreams of being a firefighter and coach further.

“Once I get out of college my plans are to finish up my EMT to be a fire fighter and to coach a baseball team to hopefully give those kids every chance that I got and more,” Neumann said.