Pittsburg, Kansas, native Brett Wiemers had an abnormal start to his Joplin Outlaws career this summer—missing the first couple of games to open the season while recovering from having his wisdom teeth removed.
“I knew for a while I was going to have to get them taken out,” Wiemers said. “I actually knew back in February, but I didn’t want to miss school ball because of it. It ended up being a now-or-never type of thing, so I got them taken out a day before the (Joplin Outlaws) opened the season.
“That kind of sucked because Opening Day is always cool and that’s usually the biggest crowd, so that was tough missing that. I was there to watch the second game and I was back by the third game. … I just started popping ibuprofen before games (when I first got back) to deal with it, but you have to do what you have to do sometimes.”
Since his return, however, Wiemers has seen his fair share of offensive production for the Outlaws, who currently lead the MINK League South Division with a 9-6 record. Currently, Wiemers is hitting .316 this summer and is tied for third on the Outlaws in hits with 12. Wiemers has a team-high eight doubles to go along with seven RBI, tied for third most on the team. His slugging percentage of .526 is third best on the Outlaws among players with 30 or more plate appearances, while his .921 OPS is fourth best on the team. Wiemers has also scored seven times, walked four times and has four stolen bases.
“I am just trying to stay within myself and not do too much,” Wiemers said about his approach on offense this summer. “I am not trying to be that power guy because that’s never really been who I am. I am just trying to stay through the middle. Whenever I am doing that, taking the ball up the middle and to right field, that is probably when I am at my best. I am just making sure to stay within myself on a nightly basis.”
Much of the Outlaws’ success this season is because of the depth in the lineup on offense. When Wiemers was asked about what he takes away from this experience this summer, he was quick to point out how crucial sharing knowledge between his teammates has been.
“The team chemistry has been really good,” Wiemers said about his time with the Outlaws. “From Day 1, all the guys kind of came in and started clicking. … We have guys from all over the country, but when it comes down to it, we’re all just looking to have a good time and play good baseball.
“Guys are talking about approaches and what they’ve been preached to while at their respective colleges. It’s us teaching each other a lot, and I think that helps. I think a lot of our strengths are the mental side of hitting—knowing what we want to do and having an approach when we get up there.”
Of course, growing up in Pittsburg, Wiemers is no stranger to Joe Becker Stadium, where the Outlaws call home during the summer. Getting a chance to suit up and play on the field regularly on a college summer team is an experience that won’t soon fade from memory.
“Playing at Joe Becker Stadium is awesome,” Wiemers said. “After traveling around and seeing some of the other stadiums, it just shows you how blessed we are to play there. That field is really special, and seeing that crowd every day when we walk out is a pretty cool feeling.”
Wiemers will be transferring to Pittsburg State this season after spending last season with Neosho County Community College, and he is grateful for his time with the Outlaws this summer to help him prepare for the NCAA DII level.
“I think this experience is huge, especially moving from the JUCO level to the DII level,” Wiemers said. “Being able to take in as much information as you can, having all of that ready for you in the future when you do go to that next level is big just because you never know what situation you might be thrown in or who you will be facing that day. You can draw back on that in the future and I think that really helps a lot.”
And while transitioning from the JUCO level to the DII is special in itself, getting to call himself a Gorilla this upcoming season is a dream Wiemers has had for a long time. Why? While Wiemers grew up in Pittsburg, his father, Dave Wiemers, was a member of the Pittsburg State football coaching staff for nearly 15 years. Getting a chance to play for the same school he grew up watching while having so many close ties to the area is an experience Brett can’t wait to get underway.
“It’s really cool,” Brett Wiemers said. “My dad had a long tenure there—12 or 13 years. Growing up around it and seeing the athletic side of everything from the inside, seeing how much love people have for Pittsburg State athletics and the passions that are within those programs—being able to be a part of it instead of just watching it is really cool. I am really excited for it.”