For Chase Odenreider (pronounced OH-den-rye-der), the 2003 campaign is a 360 degree turnaround from last spring. A former all-state shortstop at Millard North High School, Odenreider redshirted in 2002, and wasn?t even in Nebraska to watch the Huskers? second straight appearance in the College World Series.
Last May, Odenreider traveled to Youngstown, Ohio, to play in the Great Lakes League. Odenreider had a tremendous summer, batting .338 with a homer and 45 RBIs en route to first-team all-league honors. He was named the No. 4 overall prospect in the league by Baseball America and was chosen by the league coaches as the top position player prospect in the circuit.
This season, Odenreider looks to follow in the footsteps of Georgia Tech?s Victor Menocal, who was the top prospect in the league the previous season. Menocal was the Yellow Jackets? starting shortstop in 2002, batting .369 with 63 runs scored to help Georgia Tech to a CWS appearance.
Throughout the fall, Odenreider was locked into a heated duel with true freshman Alex Gordon for the starting third base position. Head Coach Mike Anderson said the position was deadlocked at the end of the fall, and the battle will likely rage on during the spring.
"We had always thought that Chase had the physical tools to be successful, but it was just a matter of having confidence," Anderson said. "He had an outstanding summer and came back as a totally different player. He really had a solid fall and will play a major role this spring for us."
2002 - Freshman
Odenreider redshirted during the 2002 season, but played for Youngstown (Ohio) Express in the Great Lakes League over the summer. He batted .338, while pacing the league with 45 RBIs and 17 doubles. Odenreider?s RBI total broke the league record and he was chosen by the league?s coaches, as the top position player prospect.
Odenreider was one of the state?s top infielders playing for Coach John Southworth at Millard North High School. A first-team All-Nebraska selection by the Omaha World-Herald and a first-team Super State honoree by the Lincoln Journal Star, he batted .418 with four homers, 39 RBIs and 38 runs scored in 2001. Odenreider also was a perfect 53-of-53 in stolen base attempts in his final two years of high school (includes high school and Legion ball). As a junior, he helped the Mustangs qualify for the state tournament, batting .300 with 13 steals and 31 runs scored. In 2000, he played for former Husker volunteer coach Kevin Koch in American Legion ball, batting .318 with 50 runs scored and 44 RBIs. He was 19-for-19 on the basepaths to help Millard North Blackstone to a 54-8 mark. Odenreider, who also played two seasons of basketball, was a member of the MNHS honor roll and selected NU over Creighton, Wayne State and several junior colleges.