Burlington baseball enjoyed historic run, come-from-behind state victory
By Mike Ramczyk
It’s been more than six months since the Burlington baseball team won the school’s first state championship, but the postseason awards keep piling up for head coach Scott Staude.
The 18-year head man had his ups and downs, including a total of seven victories in his first two seasons in the late 1990s.
But everything came together in 2016, as the Demons went 25-5 and enjoyed an unforgettable state tournament where they knocked off the defending state champion and overcame a 4-0 deficit in the sixth inning to win the state championship game.
Staude’s strategy in the title game, which included a clutch suicide squeeze to give Burlington the lead and the reliance on a senior pitcher that had only thrown a handful of innings all season, helped take the talented squad and turn it into one for the ages.
For his efforts, Staude is the area’s 2016 Coach of the Year, an award that considers Burlington, Catholic Central, Waterford and Union Grove high schools.
Recently, Staude earned the National Federation of State High School (NFSH) Associations coach of the year award for Wisconsin, and he was also named the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association coach of the year.
Southern Lakes Newspapers recently interviewed Staude on his standout 2016:
SLN: Are you still buzzing over the state championship? SS: Last season was an amazing ride and adventure. You forget about it until you run into the players that were apart of the championship run, especially the graduated seniors, and you are reminded just how special the season was.
SLN: Was there a different feel before the season that this team could be special?
SS: There was a lot of confidence that was evident from day one. Our leadership was strong and many of our players had success in other sports during the year. I feel a turning point in the season was our loss to Kenosha Indian Trail (with 1st rounder Gavin Lux) on May 2. We lost 3-2 in the 7th inning. It was a great high school baseball game against an elite team. Even though we lost the game, our players knew at that time they could compete with the best in the state. We finished the season winning 17 of 18 games after that day.
SLN: Why do you coach?
SS: I love the challenge of trying to bring a group of people together to accomplish one goal. It is so rewarding when everything comes together. That is the beauty of team sports. It is a challenge and not always easy to do, and that is what makes it tough. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.
SLN: Looking back at the season, what were your favorite coaching moves, what were the best and what were some you wish you could do differently?
SS: I think as a coach you are always second-guessing things that you do and decisions that you make. Obviously pitching Cal and Aaron Sturdevant’s suicide squeeze (in state title game) turned out well. I really liked the way our staff approached the playoffs and the state tournament.
I feel like our players were prepared against high-level competition. I also think we made the state experience enjoyable and memorable off the field as well by having team dinners, spending time together in the hotel, riding go carts and just the enjoyment of being a kid.
SLN: Is the head coach only as good as his coaching staff?
SS: We have a tremendous baseball coaching staff here in Burlington. Any one of our coaches could be a head coach if they desired to. We have a lot of experience and knowledge in all aspects of the game. Our assistant coaches have a lot of influence in what we do.
SLN: How’s the offseason been?
SS: There really is no offseason for me. I truly love coaching. In the summer, I coach both of my daughters’ softball teams, and in the fall and winter I coach their youth basketball teams.
SLN: What are your goals for 2017?
SS: I think our No. 1 goal for our program is to build on the success we have had. I feel like we always should be in the running for a conference title, and hopefully that will lead us to bigger and better things as the season progresses.
SLN: What did you learn as a coach in 2016?
SS: I learned a few things as a coach in 2016. One is that you cannot manufacture team chemistry and team grit. It can be developed and enhanced, but ultimately players have to all come together on their own.
I also learned that you need to have breaks go your way to be able to win a championship. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, but when you get the opportunity hopefully you can capitalize on it because they do not always come around.
Who is Scott Staude?
What song gets you pumped up before a big game? Van Halen’s “Right Now” or Motley Crue’s “Kick-start my Heart”
Favorite Christmas present from this year, and what was the best gift you gave: Best gift I got was the Wisconsin Badgers Basketball Book called “Make Em Believe.” Best gift I gave was sponsoring a needy family and bringing them Christmas gifts.
What was your favorite part of the holiday season? I really enjoy spending time with my family. We did a lot of fun things such as skiing, sliding and ice skating.
Favorite baseball player: Growing up it was Robin Yount, “The Kid”. Currently it would be Mike Trout
Reaction when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series: I am not a Cubs fan at all. I used to run the Brewers Baseball Academy, and we were trained to hate the Cubs. I really like Joe Maddon and I enjoy their style of play, but it still is the Cubs!