For The Fences…
Senior shortstop Bennett Hostetler is taking the nation by storm thanks to his play on the field.
What was your decision-making process in opting to return to this program this spring?
I think having the option was always really a blessing. Our athletic department and our boosters were able to give us another year on scholarship. I think that was really great of them and they do a great job taking care of the athletes that are here. With the ability to be able to come back, I don’t think anything ever changed my mind. To get another year of schooling was also a big factor because I graduated last spring with one degree and so I’m just finishing up another one right now.
The group that we have here was another big factor. Obviously, what you see right now on the field with our success is thanks to the age of the team. A lot of our older guys are guys I came in with and
I know how talented they are. That was another deciding factor.
And with that group of older guys, how have you been able to cultivate chemistry within the roster?
When our season got canceled last year, the majority of the guys were still in Fargo. I think we already had pretty good chemistry to begin with, but we used this time to solidify things that maybe weren’t solidified last year. I think another advantage would be just having another year to get stronger in the weight room. We got to fix things baseball-wise that maybe we didn’t have time for in a normal year. I also believe it allowed our team to get back to normal from a health perspective too.
What is the mentality of the team when you have to go on those long road stretches early in the season?
The mentality that we have is that we’re not going to let excuses beat us ever. We think that we have a good enough team in the locker room and on the field to where we should be competitive in every single game. If it’s a close game and nobody is scoring, I think our pitching is good enough to play with pretty much anybody. Then I think our offense is good enough to play with pretty much anybody.
We got a second chance to come back and play and there are a lot of excuses that we could have but we’re not going to let them affect how we play. That’s our mentality going forward because we do this every single year where we’re on the road for long periods of time. I mean, two years ago we were the last team in the country to play
a home game. We know this feeling.
You have become a real offensive threat this season, how have you been able to grow at the plate throughout your career? How have you grown that confidence out there?
I think it depends on whom you ask. I think for some people who maybe haven’t played as much, just getting in the lineup and being consistent with playing time is a boost. For me, it was more of a consistency thing.
I am consistently having the same approach with my routine, going up to the boxes the same, my mentality is the same. That’s not to say that I didn’t have a consistent approach in the past, I think I just have a better understanding of how I’m going to get pitched to now though. I have a better idea of what to expect from pitchers and that allows me to remain consistent.
Does consistency like that come from skill or experience?
There is definitely a maturation process for each individual person. For someone like me who’s played since my freshman year, you get thrown into the fire quickly. You have to grow up fast from a baseball perspective. I did a good job of that early on, I believe. Part of it too is that over the years I have watched some of the upperclassmen who were playing. I was picking up things here and there from what made them successful.
You talked about upperclassmen who helped you. How have you taken on that role now as a fifth-year senior?
I take a lot of pride in that. This year’s a little bit different than in the past. In the past, we’ve only had two captains and we have five this year. On the field, in the weight room, in the locker room and things like that, I’m not really a vocal person, I just kind of try to lead by example. When we’re doing drills or we’re practicing, I try to give the younger guys some little bits and pieces here and there. I try to just talk to them about what they’re feeling at the plate, what they’re thinking at the plate, what helps me, what doesn’t help me, things like that. I like trying to provide them some information that can help them be more successful.
How have you gone about leaving this program better than you found it?
I think myself and the group that I came in with, all came in and we had a chance to play for a conference championship my freshman year. We ended up losing to Oral Roberts. I think the main goal for us is that we want that chance again and we want to leave here with a conference title.
On a smaller scale, we want to show the younger guys the right processes to succeed. Whether that is in the weight room or practice, we want
to show these guys the right things to do.
Hometown: Bozeman, Mont.