Star Demon pitcher just getting started

Trey Krause is the 2018 Southern Lakes Newspapers All-Area baseball player of the year, to go along with all-conference and all-county player of the year. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

By Andrew Horschak

Sports Correspondent

Looking back, the 2010 Burlington baseball team had even more success than originally thought.

The Demons, led by seniors Cody Peterson, Mike Porcaro, Tell Taylor and Dylan Friend, captured the Southern Lakes Conference championship and finished with a sparkling 25-3 record.

Maybe more importantly, though, they left quite an impression on their bat boy.

While dutifully doing his job of toting bats back to the dugout, Trey Krause, the son of longtime Burlington assistant coach Tom Krause, was watching his favorite players intently.

“When I was 7 or 8, I would drool over them because of how good I thought they were,” Krause said about the 2010 team. “Growing up, there were a lot of guys that I looked up to who were very good baseball players and I learned things from, but I remember those guys the most.”

Fast forward eight years and it’s safe to say that Krause’s on-the-job training paid off.

Thanks to his eye-popping numbers, Krause was a no-doubter when it came to selecting the 2018 Southern Lakes Newspapers All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.

In a standout junior season for the state-qualifying Demons, Krause went 7-1 with a 1.26 ERA on the mound. Relying on a knee-buckling curveball, the 5-foot-11 left-hander recorded 90 strikeouts in 61 innings while walking only 26.

At the plate, Krause, who played first base when he wasn’t pitching, also hit a robust .474 while batting in the No. 3 spot. He contributed six doubles, 14 RBI and had a .557 on-base percentage.

“Trey has been around the program ever since he could walk,” said Burlington coach Scott Staude, who just completed his 20th season. “It’s a pretty neat story just seeing him go from hanging around the kids as the bat boy to working his way through different levels of baseball and having tremendous success the last couple of years on the varsity.”

Named second-team All-State by the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association and the SLC Player of the Year and Racine County Player of the Year after leading the Demons to their third consecutive league title, Krause showcased his competitive nature in the big games.

“I feel like I’m a pitcher who always has poise in any situation,” Krause said. “I’ve never backed away from a challenge, no matter who it is. I can rise to the moment and throw a number of pitches whether it be a fastball, curveball, changeup or slider.”

A fan of Clayton Kershaw, Krause isn’t afraid to turn to his curveball – just like the Los Angeles Dodgers ace — when he needs an out.

“I get a lot of swings and misses on it or just bad contact,” he said. “It’s kind of fun mixing the fastball and curveball because it keeps the hitters off-balance and makes them look clueless out there. It’s fun to mess around with the hitters.”

When asked for a scouting report, Staude was quick to praise his No. 1 hurler.

“He’s a little bit of everything,” the Burlington coach said. “He’s a lefty who throws in the mid- to upper-80s. He’s got a really good 12-6 curveball that is one of the best in the state, honestly. When things get tough, he definitely turns into a bulldog. He has this laid-back kind of flow to him, but he can turn on the intensity when he needs to.”

After losing a number of talented players from last year’s state tournament squad, not much was expected out of Burlington in 2018.

With Krause leading the way, the Demons finished 20-8 and reached the state tourney for the third year in a row. Burlington lost to eventual runner-up Arrowhead in a quarterfinal matchup, 2-1, as Krause was tagged with a loss in the hard-luck defeat.

But in the sectional, Krause gave a virtuoso performance, firing a complete game shutout in the semifinal before returning two hours later for a one inning, two-strikeout save to send the Demons to state.

“We lost some key seniors last year,” Krause said. “A lot of people counted us out. We didn’t have a lot of pressure on us this year. We were kind of the underdog. We just played free and relaxed and found success. It helped us all the way to state.

“Going to state three times in a row … that’s what you dream about when you’re a kid. I remember dreaming about going to state and representing your city. Having that become reality is a pretty good feeling.”

As expected, Krause has already garnered plenty of interest from college programs. He is spending his summer playing for Stiks Academy out of Waukesha and traveling to tournaments throughout the Midwest.

When time permits, he finds himself at the diamond in a working capacity.

“I umpire sometimes for little league,” Krause said. “Some of the kids will say, ‘Are you that lefty pitcher?’ It’s kind of fun to see.”

Who knows?

Maybe he has already made an impression on a future SLN All-Area Player of the Year.

 

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