ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Baseball more than just winning for Sperry: 'I had the time of my life'

Lourdes senior Joe Sperry has been named the Post Bulletin Player of the Year in baseball for his special 2022 season.

Lourdes, Plainview-Elgin-Millville Section 1AA baseball championships
Lourdes senior Joe Sperry throws a pitch during a Section 1AA baseball championship game against Plainview-Elgin-Millville. For his stellar play during the 2022 season, Sperry has been named the Post Bulletin Player of the Year in baseball.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
We are part of The Trust Project.

Family and friends. For Lourdes senior Joe Sperry, that’s what made the 2022 high school baseball season special.

Sperry has worked hard for all he has accomplished since he first started playing for the Eagles. And he admits he did it as much for his teammates as he did for himself.

Also Read
Rochester's Thomas Bruss, a relief pitcher, has signed a professional baseball contract to play with the New Jersey Jackals of the Frontier League.
Delaney Fleming learned to love hockey while growing up in Rochester. She helped Lourdes to a pair of Class A state tournaments before transferring to Shattuck St. Mary's as a sophomore. Friday, she announced her decision to play Division I college hockey at Ohio State University, beginning in the 2023-24 season.

But what the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Sperry was able to accomplish on the diamond this spring was special. He helped Lourdes win a Section 1AA title and place third in the state in Class AA. For his stellar play as a pitcher and hitter, Sperry has been named the Post Bulletin All-Area Player of the Year.

“It was an absolutely incredible season,” Sperry said. “We won a lot of games, but it’s not all about that. Even if we didn’t win the section title, we wouldn’t see it as a failure. Because that’s not what baseball’s about. It’s about being brothers and it’s about life.”

Sperry said the Eagles went through a lot of adversity, so the key was to band together and play as many games as possible.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I had the time of my life and I know the other guys feel the same,” he said.

A big family moment for Sperry came right after winning the Section 1AA championship against Plainview-Elgin-Millville and earning a state tournament berth.

“When we won the section title, I ran to my grandma,” Sperry said. “I recently lost my grandpa and it’s been hard on our family. But just having that special moment with my grandma and my family — because I know they wanted it just as bad as I did — that was a special moment for me.”

Lourdes coach Dave Jenson also had Sperry sign the game ball for his family.

Joe Sperry Mug.jpg
Joe Sperry

“I thought that was cool,” Sperry said.

It was falling to P-E-M in the section title game last spring that motivated Sperry and his teammates during the 2022 season.

“We knew how bad it felt and we didn’t want to feel that way again,” Sperry said. “We took that as motivation into the season. We kind of took it game by game and didn’t get too far ahead of ourselves.”

Sperry was voted team captain along with Sam Schneider for their senior season and they took the responsibility to heart.

ADVERTISEMENT

Jenson said Sperry has a strong work ethic and while he held players accountable, he was also determined to help others reach their goals.

“While he was far and away our best player, he was committed to helping everyone on the team get better,” Jenson said.

“I think they all saw how hard I worked and they wanted to work even harder,” Sperry said. “Because they didn’t want to fall behind. We all strive for each other and care for each other because we’ve been playing together for such a long time.”

Clutch in the big games

Sperry rose to the occasion in the biggest games of the season. He pitched four innings of scoreless relief to lead Lourdes past P-E-M 3-2 in nine innings in the Section 1AA title game.

In the Class AA state quarterfinals, he earned his 10th win of the season. He allowed two runs in 5 ⅔ innings, hit an RBI triple and then snapped a 2-2 tie with a three-run double during a 7-3 win over Wadena-Deer Creek.

Members Only
The 2022 Post Bulletin All-Area baseball team features players who have been honored at the conference, section and state level and many are going on to play college ball.

Finally in the Class AA third-place game, Sperry hit a pair of home runs and drove in three runs as Lourdes rallied past St. Agnes 11-9 to earn a state trophy.

“Training in the winter, a big thing for me was just breathing and meditating and just thinking about those big moments, which is what made me be so successful,” Sperry said. “I strive to be in those situations. I want the ball in my hands when we’re in a big spot. I was ready for it no matter what and I wanted to go get it for them (his teammates).”

Sperry was stellar both on the mound (10-1, 0.84 ERA) and at the plate (.487 average, eight doubles, eight home runs, 39 RBIs).

ADVERTISEMENT

He helped the Eagles win 20 games in back-to-back seasons, and was named Class AA All-State both years. This year he was also the Section 1AA Player of the Year.

“For everyone we played, to have him circled as the guy in the lineup, and for him to still put up the numbers he did, it was kind of an amazing year,” Jenson said.

Sperry will start his college baseball career at a Division I junior college, the University of South Carolina Lancaster. He was originally being recruited as a hitter, but with his standout pitching season this year, he will now be given the opportunity to be a two-way player.

“Right now I really love being a pitcher,” Sperry said. “I love having control over the game. But whatever works out best for me, I’m going to be happy with, whether it’s hitting or pitching.”

On the mound he throws a fastball — which has been timed at 89 miles per hour — a slider and a changeup.

He plans on training with former Rochester Century and professional pitcher Mitch Brown again this summer and hopes to improve the velocity on his fastball. Sperry is going to take a bit of a break from games this summer, but expects to play some amateur games with the Rochester Royals and maybe some American Legion contests with the Rochester Eagles.

Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or glimbeck@postbulletin.com.
What to read next
Jamaal Gibson, a 2010 Austin High graduate, has been named the new boys basketball coach for the Packers, replacing Kris Fadness.
Rylee Nelson, an incoming senior at Zumbrota-Mazeppa, has accepted a volleyball scholarship offer from Seton Hall University, which plays in the Big East Conference and is located in New Jersey.
This spring, the Hayfield softball team had a saying: “Mission Mankato,” which exemplified the team’s desire to make it to the state tournament hosted there. That didn’t happen, but the team did make a different state tournament in the same town, just a few months later.
Steve Strickland resigned from his position as Lourdes activities director nearly two months ago. To so many Eagles coaches, he was a priceless worker and Lourdes advocate.