Bloomfield native ignites Hawkeyes baseball program

Behind the arm of Bloomfield native Calvin Matthews, the Iowa Hawkeyes baseball program is on the upswing.

The sophomore has seen much success throughout his high school career winning a state championship at Davis County in 2011 and has carried the momentum to Iowa.

But it didn't come easy adjusting to Big Ten baseball.

"You know, it's a pretty big difference facing some of the best hitters in the country," said Matthews. "Going from a small town where maybe they have two or three hitters in the lineup that can put the ball in play to coming here where batters one through nine are all going to give you a tough out."

Matthews has made great strides from his freshman year to his sophomore year.

He currently sports a 2.86 ERA--almost half of what his ERA was last year. He also has 59 strikeouts which is more than double what he had a year ago.

Matthews battled through an injury last year, but attributed confidence to making these strides as a sophomore.

"This year over the summer I worked out a lot, got my arm a lot stronger, and came with just a lot more confidence my sophomore year not being the freshman like I was last year," said Matthews.

First-year head coach Rick Heller is from just around the corner in Eldon.

As a kid, Matthews attended camps at University of Northern Iowa hosted by Heller and said it's been a treat playing for him.

Teammates said Matthews is laid back and praised his development in year two.

"Calvin's an easy-going guy--small town Iowa guy--so it's cool to know that we're both from the area and stuff like that," said Iowa 2nd baseman Jake Mangler. "So having him go out there on Friday nights and being able to pitch the way he does has been great for our team this year and great for him as an individual."