Cole Sturgeon (center) can't contain himself during a post-game press conference with Nick Solak and Zach Lucas.
Cole Sturgeon (center) can’t contain himself during a post-game press conference with Nick Solak and Zach Lucas.

Cole Sturgeon often has a tough time keeping a straight face during some post-game press conferences, as was obvious after the Super Regional championship win over Kennesaw State.

The question to freshman Zach Lucas is innocent enough. “Zach, you’ve been hitting the ball pretty well the past couple of weeks. What’s been the difference?”

“Yeah, well, I made a couple of adjustments,” he says. “I’m starting to see the ball well.”

Cole Sturgeon

Then he adds, “Uh, I’m just happy to be playing.”

With that answer, a smiling Sturgeon is unable to contain his laughter, covering his eyes with his hands, lowering his head face down on the table.

The writers and broadcasters asking simple questions, wanting quotable stuff. The players, knowing most plays are instinctive, not quite believing some of the questions, knowing they have to say something, wanting to be responsive but coherent. They haven’t thought much about what it’s happening, they’re just happy to be winning.

While Sturgeon is often amused by the give and take with the media, he is one of the obvious leaders on this team. As a captain who has earned the respect of his teammates while able to add levity off the field.

“We expected to be here,” he says. “We have built a good culture here under Coach Mac, and we set very high expectations for ourselves. I think that shows on the field.”

Center field is in good hands with the six-foot, 180-pound senior from Owensboro Catholic, as was evident when his throw cut down a University of Kentucky runner at the plate during the Regional championship.

Sturgeon has been consistent all season long, departing for Omaha hitting .331 with 86 hits while collecting 25 walks and a team-leading 28 runs. He has 11 hits in his last 23 at bats. A left handed pitcher as well, Sturgeon also had a 2.06 ERA in 24 pitching appearances, notching 35 strikeouts in 34 innings.

“Whatever the team needs to me do, this is my last go round, I just want to help the team anyway I can whether it’s hitting, defense or on the mound,” he says.

If UofL continues to win, he will keep having fun during those post-game press conferences.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.