Fall, winter and spring, like clockwork, if you looked on the field or the court there has been one constant for the Alleman Pioneers — Sam Mattecheck.
From the football season to basketball to baseball, the past several years those have been the home for Mattecheck. That will come to an end this spring when Mattecheck helps lead the Alleman baseball team one final time.
"It has been quite a ride," Mattecheck said. " I am going to make the most of this season and enjoy every minute of being a Pioneer. I'm excited for this season and I'm also sad to see it all go."
This marks Mattecheck's fourth season on the varsity baseball team, joining teammates Jono Berry and Chase VanDerGinst. He was a three-year varsity player in football and a two-year varsity player in basketball.
When next fall comes around later this year, Mattecheck will have a new feeling. Instead of a three-sport player he will be down to one. Mattecheck recently decided he will play football at Washington University in St. Louis.
"That was a tough decision," Mattecheck said. "I had about an equal number of offers for baseball and football, but football has always been the game I love most."
Not only will Mattecheck have to adjust to playing one sport, he'll have to adjust to playing just half of the game. On the football field, Mattecheck played quarterback and defensive back.
"I have always liked to compete, so I'm sure I'll be asking the coaches to let me run back punts and kickoffs," he said. "I will do whatever they ask me to do."
That is the essence of Mattecheck. Not only is he one of the finest athletes around, he is a wonderful young man. He attitude is what stands out most to Alleman baseball coach Jerry Burkhead.
"Sam in constantly competing and being a leader," Burkhead said. "It is definitely huge to have him on our team. He is a great teammate and a humble kid. He is that guy you can always depend on whether it is on or off the field."
On the field, Mattecheck does it all for the Pioneers. He was 8-1 on the mound last season, losing in the sectional championship to eventual state champion Hall. When he is not on the mound, he is manning center field, and he is always in the leadoff position.
"He does a good job at everything he does," Burkhead said. "He does a lot of things for our team."
Having set a school record with 30 wins last spring, and having a number of starters back this year, Mattecheck believes this could be a terrific Alleman swan song in the coming months.
"I have a few more months of baseball here and I want it to be great," he said. "I am motivated and my team is motivated to be as good or even better than we were last year. We just have to keep doing what we did last year."
Mattecheck knows that he and Berry will be a key to that success. They are the Pioneers 1-2 pitching duo, and have been since they were freshmen.
He believes the key this spring is doing the same things he did last year.
"I don't expect to do anything differently when we pitch," Mattecheck said. "For Jono and me, it is about throwing strikes, keeping the hitters off-balance and letting the defense behind us make plays."
His coach thinks it is a little more than that.
"Sam is going to battle and when he gets the ball; he is going to give us a chance every time," Burkhead said. "If he is on, he will be very good. If he isn't on, he will find a way to keep us close. When he is on the bump, we are really confident."