In the books: Reinkall finishes high school career with record-setting season
When he was still a sophomore at Superior High School, Justin Reinkall began thinking about his future.
“That’s when I decided I wanted to go play college baseball,” said Reinkall, who led the Spartans on the mound and at the plate this year as a senior and was named the Superior Telegram Baseball Player of the Year.
Reinkall had devoted equal time to hitting and pitching, but with college in mind, he began to focus more on pitching.
He added arm exercises and pitching drills to his daily workouts and worked to expanded his pitches “that could get guys out.”
His father, Terry, assisted in that effort when he suggested Reinkall begin throwing a splitter.
“My dad just told me, ‘Hey, try this pitch out,’” Reinkall said. “I started throwing it, and it was one of my out pitches from the start.”
Reinkall now considers his splitter to be his most dominant pitch, even though he’s only thrown it since his sophomore year.
That rapid growth bodes well for his future at Southeast Community College in Nebraska, and it has ensured Reinkall will not be forgotten in the SHS baseball program.
“His name is sprinkled throughout our records sheet for his pitching this year,” said Don Dembroski, head coach of the Spartans.
According to Dembroski’s records dating back to 2000, Reinkall is the new leader in single-season pitching wins. The senior picked up seven wins this year to move ahead of Grant Rindal (2012), Tim Bouvine (2003) and Keith Ritsche (2003), all with six wins apiece.
Reinkall is tied for second place in strikeouts in a single season with 53, and he ranks within the top five in five other pitching categories.
“My freshman year, we went and sat in the classroom and I saw all the records,” Reinkall said. “I was like, ‘I want to get up here on a couple of them at least.’ … That was just my goal.”
Reinkall finished his senior year with a 1.19 ERA and 7-1 record over 47 innings pitched. He held opponents to a .172 batting average while allowing only 1.64 walks per game with a .894 WHIP.
At the plate, Reinkall was no less impressive.
The senior hit .323 during the final 10 games of his junior season, and this year he picked up where he left off.
Reinkall led the Spartans in hits (27), doubles (6), RBIs (16), runs scored (20) and walks (11) while batting .351 with a .433 on-base percentage. His 27 hits put him in a tie for fifth on Superior’s single-season records list.
“JR did it all for us, more than just pitching, and is one of the better all-around players I’ve coached,” Dembroski said. “We don’t win the conference without Justin this year.”
Reinkall said winning the Lake Superior Conference title with his teammates was the highlight of his senior season. It was the first time Superior had won the LSC title since 2004.
“I believe we were the underdog just because it’s been so long that we haven’t done anything,” Reinkall said. “We just came out with the mindset right away that we were going to win it all.
“We knew that we could do it with this team that we had.”
Reinkall was named to the Lake Superior Conference All-Conference first team and was selected to play for the West team in the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association’s annual All-Star Classic today and Saturday in Oshkosh.
Reinkall is the first Spartan to play in the WBCA All-Star Classic since Kellen McCoshen in 2010, and he is just the sixth Spartan to play in the games overall.
The Superior grad will continue playing baseball next year with Southeast Community College in Beatrice, Neb.
“It’s a small school, I loved the coaches and I loved the area,” Reinkall said. “They develop a lot of good kids out of there, pitchers and hitters, so I thought that would be such a nice place to play and to be able to develop.”
The Storm play in the National Junior College Athletic Association. They advanced to the NJCAA Division II World Series in 2017 and finished the season with a 40-20 record.
“When I was younger that was always my dream, to go play college baseball,” Reinkall said. “Once my velocity started bumping up, we kind of talked about it.”
Reinkall said he topped out at 88 mph this spring, but he believes he can increase his velocity dramatically at the next level. He also hopes to improve his off-speed pitches while in college.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I’m really excited,” Reinkall said.
Superior Telegram Baseball Players of the Year
2017 — Justin Reinkall, Sr., Superior
2016 — Ryan Anderson, Sr., Solon Springs
2015 — Sean O’Neill, Sr., Superior
2014 — Riley Gibson, Sr., Solon Springs
2013 — Tyler Long, Sr., Solon Springs
2012 — Grant Rindal, Jr., Superior
2011 — Taylor Olson, Sr., Superior
2010 — Donnie Hissa, Sr., Northwestern
2009 — Donnie Hissa, Jr., Northwestern
2008 — Mike Swanson, Sr., Superior
2007 — Zach Sitek, Sr. Superior
2006 — Kiel Fechtelkotter, Sr. Northwestern
2005 — Kiel Fechtelkotter, Jr., Northwestern
2004 — Tony Visger, Sr., Northwood
2003 — Keith Ritsche, Sr., Superior
2002 — Greg Aker, Sr., Superior