Cade Torgerson returns to the diamond after five years on the gridiron
Torgerson has a pitch arsenal of a fastball, a curveball and a changeup.
JAMESTOWN — When his freshman year at the University of Jamestown ended, Cade Torgerson decided against continuing to play baseball and football full time, and he instead opted to stay with football. He maintained that decision until this year when he returned to baseball in his final semester in college.
“It was last winter when I saw Coach (Tom) Hager and Coach (Ryan) Iliff in the hallway, they brought up, what would you think about picking up the ball again, and I said, ‘You never know.’ We ended up having a meeting and Coach Hager told me the door was always open for me and we started this past summer, playing a little catch and I threw a couple bullpens,” Torgerson said. “Honestly, when I picked up the baseball again I knew it was something that I was going to be interested in, the opportunity to rejoin the team, be around the guys is something that intrigued me a lot.”
Torgerson said he made a decision to play just one sport because he felt he wasn't giving enough to both football and baseball. He said it was one of the toughest decisions he ever made in his life.
“It was a lot of wear and tear on my body, a lot of travel my freshman year,” Torgerson said. “I think it was like over 20,000 miles I did. So, it was a lot to balance and I think it’s different being a quarterback and a pitcher, quarterback you’re the leader of the team so it’s hard being half in and half out sometimes.”
During his collegiate career, Torgerson has played in 42 total football games and 12 career baseball games.
Hager said the coaching staffs of the baseball and football teams have a good relationship. Torgerson is not the only member of the Jimmies baseball team who played football this year as he is joined by wide receiver and outfielder Isaiah Roebuck.
Throughout his time as the Jimmies' quarterback, Torgerson said he always wanted to return to the diamond and that idea grew after he was granted an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hager said Torgerson’s return became real during the beginning of the 2022 football season when Torgerson told him that he was going to buy a new pair of baseball cleats.
“It started out as a joke, what if you went back and played baseball that fifth year when you’re done with football," Torgerson said. It ended up picking up a little bit more traction as I got closer and closer to the time. But yeah, I’ve always loved baseball and kept track with what our team is doing and it kind of stuck in the back of my head.”
Despite being in the midst of football season during the fall, Hager said Torgerson still attended every baseball meeting.
The fifth-year Jimmies quarterback finally returned as a pitcher on Feb. 26, which was his first appearance for the baseball team since May 13, 2019.
“Dusting off the rust starts with commitment and hard work and he was able to do those things,” Hager said. “He was able to put some time in throwing the baseball, put some time in with committing to the baseball program. So, we’ve seen him get better and better and better throughout the course of the late fall and now into the early spring.”
As of March 19, Torgerson has pitched 4.0 innings over three games, giving up five hits and two earned runs for a 4.50 earned run average and five strikeouts. This season, Kendall Yackley is the only remaining player from the last time Torgerson was on the roster. Torgerson said his new teammates have helped him game plan and get back into the preparation side of the game.
“I love the team that I’m around right now,” Torgerson said. “I’ve been lucky enough to have some of these guys around me. I’ve got a couple of my best friends already on this roster. I can say right when I joined they welcomed me with open arms, there was no animosity since then, they’ve been awesome and getting me back in the swing of things. They’ve been right there every step of the way. So, I couldn’t have made a smoother transition as I think I have without them.”
Hager said Torgerson has been a leader for his team and has brought an infectious attitude to the field every day. He said Torgerson’s biggest transferable skill from football to baseball is his upper body strength. Hager said Torgerson's role will take shape as he gets more innings under his belt.
“When you bring that from throwing a football to throwing a baseball, certainly there’s that transition of how you’re going to pitch, how you’re going to set up hitters, how you’re going to attack them,” Hager said. “But the arm talent is there, so we’re excited to see how he continues to get better throughout the season and we think he’s going to be a big part of our success.”
Torgerson said the difference in preparing for each sport is drastic because of the way the schedules are formatted and the way baseball forces you to worry about yourself more than the other team.
“I think baseball you’re more worried about what you can control as far as mechanics, pitch execution, things like that, and then football you spend the whole week dedicated to one team and watching film on them,” Torgerson said.