May 19, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- As the University of Iowa baseball team prepares for its final game of the 2012 season today against 13th-ranked Purdue at 1:05 p.m. at Duane Banks Field, 12 Hawkeye seniors will slip on their Iowa uniform for the final time.
For senior Chett Zeise, it will be an emotional day for he and his family.
"I'm sure I'll reflect on my experiences during my four years and all the hard work I put in with my teammates," said Zeise, who hit the game-winning three-run home run in Iowa's 6-1 triumph over the Boilermakers on Friday night. "I've also been blessed to have the support of my parents. They've been at my conference weekend games all four years and some other nonconference contests. It's a great feeling having that kind of support."
For his first three years Zeise served as a utility player, seeing action in the outfield, second base and shortstop. This season he landed at third base and has been one of Iowa's most consistent players.
"The biggest thing that helped Chett was that he was always a good defensive player," said UI head coach Jack Dahm. "Once we told him he was going to be a third baseman, with his work ethic, hands and arm strength, he developed into an outstanding defensive player. Chett is a guy who has one, if not the most accurate and strongest arms, we have ever had over there."
Zeise said that moving to the hot corner gave him a certain comfort level, but he still needed to improve and continue to work hard. His work ethic and leadership is one of his most valuable traits.
"Chett is a guy who shows up and does things the right way, every single day," Dahm said. "He always has himself ready to play. He's one of the most unselfish players I've ever been around. All four years, it is always team-first with Chett. He's one of the most-liked players on the team. He's the best third baseman I've ever coached, as far as playing the position for one year. He's played tremendous defensively and has come up with some big hits for us offensively as well."
The Green Bay, Wis., native has improved in nearly every statistical category his final season. Zeise has posted single-season bests in runs scored (24), hits (47), RBI (24), doubles (14) and steals (8).
Despite putting up improved offensive numbers, Zeise feels like his defense has been his most improved. He has been charged seven errors, four of which came during the first 10 games of the season."
"I feel like defense has been my biggest improvement and been the most consistent," said the four-year starter. "I had some errors early, but I settled in. It's hard when we play outside getting on the grass for the first time after practicing a month in the bubble."
Since stepping foot on campus for the first time four years ago, Zeise feels like he has grown and matured as a person.
"I think college is a time for you to find your identity," said Zeise. "Looking back at my freshman year, I feel like I've matured quite a bit as a person, and I credit my coaches and teammates for that."
Dahm believes Zeise is a role model for those who aspire to be a successful student-athlete at the Division I level.
"Whether its academics, socially, on the baseball field, in the weight room, community service... the consistency Chett shows in all areas has allowed him to be an outstanding student-athlete," said Dahm.
As this chapter concludes in Zeise's life, a new one begins.
"I plan to take the summer off and have some free time; I haven't had any free time in a while," said the interdepartmental studies graduate. "After that, I look at getting into medical sales back home in Wisconsin."
Reflecting on his college career, Zeise said he has created a lot of memories.
"I met some great people here, had some awesome teammates and great coaches; it's been an experience that I'll never forget," Zeise said.