No place like home for Luedtke: Returns to RF after All-American season at UWSP | Sports

River Falls Fighting Fish player-manager Josh Eidem had a quick response when he found out Lucas Luedtke had been named the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Player of the Week at UW-Stevens Point for the week of April 20-27.

“He should,” Eidem quipped. “He’s been there six years.”

Luedtke, a 2016 River Falls High School graduate and seven-year Fish veteran, made his return to the Fish dugout Wednesday, June 15 against Red Wing. And while he didn’t get in the game, he was obviously happy to be back.

“I always love Fish baseball,” he said. “I love coming back here each summer.”

Seventh-year River Falls Fighting Fish player Lucas Luedtke thanks the cover of this year’s Fish Magazine and Game Program. Bob Burrows/Star-Observer photo

Luedtke recently completed his sixth season of college baseball– the last five at UW-Stevens Point before playing his freshman year at the University of Minnesota-Morris. After transferring to UW-Stevens Point, he played for the Pointers as a sophomore in 2018 before a knee injury resulted in a medical redshirt for the 2019 season. Then COVID-19 wiped out the 2020 season, giving players an extra year of eligibility. He then played 2021 as a junior at UWSP before earning American Baseball Coaches Association Second Team All-American as a senior in 2022 and helping the Pointers reach the College World Series in Cedar Rapids, Iowa June 3-7.

“It was a long journey, but I’m glad it ended in Cedar Rapids,” he said about his collegiate baseball career. “It was probably one of the best experiences of my life and I’ll never forget it.”

Luedtke hit .355 this season with 14 home runs and 59 runs batted in. Three of those homers came in an 11-7 victory over UW-Whitewater in the NCAA Super Regional May 28 that punched the Pointers’ ticket to the College World Series.

He was named the WIAC Player of the Week April 27 after hitting .370 with 13 RBI, three home runs and eight runs scored in six Pointer wins. He slugged a team-best .778 over the six games and had four multi-hit games with at least one extra-base hit in each.

After playing for River Falls’ Big Rivers Conference championship and state-qualifying team as a junior in 2015, Luedtke earned All-BRC honors as a senior and immediately joined the Fish for the summer of 2016. He’s been back every summer since, including the Fish’s Wisconsin Baseball Association state championship season of 2020. He’s currently fifth on the Fish’s all-time list for doubles.

“This keeps me wanting to come back every summer,” he said. “I’m surrounded by people I love. Great fans, great environment, great field, great baseball, good competition– I just love it. I can’t stay away.”

Luedtke said it still hasn’t hit him that his college career is done. But he won’t be staying away from Stevens Point either. I graduated this past December with a major in physical education and a minor in health education, and began graduate courses in the fall. He’ll be returning to the Pointers as a graduate assistant coach and student teacher this fall.

“I made it to the World Series as a player,” he noted. “I hope to get back there as a coach.”

He also hopes to eventually land a job as a physical education teacher and baseball coach within a 30-mile radius of River Falls so he can continue to play for the Fighting Fish. But that’s not the only reason he loves his hometown of him.

“I came back here last Sunday, and I just felt at home,” he said. “The moment I got back, I went for like a two hour walk. And I just felt so comfortable here. I don’t think I could ever leave this place. I love it too much.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button