JEFFERSON CITY — Unpredictability.
Some can deal with it. Others fear it. Few embrace it.
For Hickman left-fielder Taylor Steuber, it’s what he likes most about the game he loves.
“What I love about baseball is that it’s very unpredictable,” Steuber said. “Any team can beat any other team on any given day.”
Steuber and the rest of the Hickman Kewpies fell victim to the unpredictable nature of baseball Tuesday, losing to the Helias Crusaders 9-5 at Legion Field. The loss snapped a 3-game winning streak that included a win over the Rock Bridge Bruins, who are ranked 10th in the state.
Hickman coach Dave Wilson credited the loss more on the team’s performance, rather than the erratic nature of baseball.
“We simply weren’t ready to play today,” said Wilson, whose team fell to 7-7 with the loss. “Helias outhustled us and outcoached us in every facet of the game.”
Steuber echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“Our hopes and expectations were way too high coming into this game,” Steuber said. “We came in thinking we already had the game won.”
Steuber, hitting in the clean-up spot for the fifth time this season, went 2-for-3 against the Crusaders (9-3).
Steuber’s swing isn’t a product of unpredictability. It’s something he has been working on since he was 3 years old.
“From the time I could pick up a bat, my dad and I would spend hours out at this field by my house,” Steuber said. “He’d pitch to me and I’d just hit ball after ball. I was always working on my hitting.”
The time Stueber spent with his dad on that field is paying off now. He boasts a swing that produces few strikeouts, something that Wilson says is one of his reasons for batting Stueber in the clean-up spot.
“Taylor is always putting the ball into play,” Wilson said. “So I thought that maybe we would get a run or two just by having him up there with men on base.”
Growing up, Stueber always hoped he would become a Kewpie.
“I went to a lot of Hickman games when I was younger,” Steuber said. “I always dreamt that one day I’d be able to play for them.”
Predictably, Hickman wasn’t Steuber’s favorite team growing up.
His grandmother, Janice Steuber, made sure he was a St. Louis Cardinals fan.
“My grandma was always a Cardinals fan so I started to follow the Cardinals too,” Steuber said. “When I would go to Cardinals games, it would always be with my dad and my grandma.”
Like baseball, unpredictability is also prominent in Steuber’s off-the-field interests.
When he’s not snagging fly balls, Steuber likes to spend his time fishing.
“Fishing definitely is at the top of my list of things to do,” said Steuber, who caught a 75-pound spoonbill on a recent fishing trip on the Osage River.
Hickman returns to action at 5 p.m. today when the team hosts the Smith-Cotton Tigers.