Athlete of the Week: Eau Claire Express’ Matt Bottcher

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- He’s been the spark the Eau Claire Express were looking for: Illinois-Chicago senior baseball player and current Express utility player, Matt Bottcher, is our Osseo Automotive Athlete of the Week. SportScene 13’s Neil Hebert reports.

Eau Claire Express' Matt Bottcher bunts for a base hit in a game at Carson Park.

Three 4-hit games in the Express’ last 7, Bottcher is now hitting a cool .446 with an on-base plus slugging percentage of over 1.000.

“He’s doing everything that he wants to do. He wants to hit for power, he wants to hit more gaps and more doubles, and that’s kind of what he’s doing,” Dale Varsho, the Express manager, said. “He’s attacking the ball really early, and it’s working out in his favor.”

“Every now and then, I meet with Coach Varsho and we get together a little early before BP and just work on some things,” Bottcher said. “I think that’s kind of been what’s given me the most success. And he’s a smart dude, so during the game, if he says something, I can try and flip it right there and then in the game. It’s nice.”

Varsho says Bottcher's style of play is reminiscent of a former Express player: his nephew, Daulton Varsho.

“Matt’s an old school player. He loves to play, loves to play hard; he runs everything out. He reminds me a lot of my nephew. He plays hard and he loves the game,” Varsho said. “He bunts for hits. He hits for average. He puts the ball in play.”

Eau Claire is quite the lifestyle change from his home, Chicago, but Bottcher thinks Eau Claire is an ideal place to play summer ball.

“It’s exciting. Eau Claire’s got great fans and that makes it a lot easier,” Bottcher said. “Everyone’s pretty nice. It’s quiet and laid back. It’s different from what I’m used to.”

Bottcher hopes to get drafted after his senior year in 2020, but is taking in his final season in the Northwoods League before his final year of college ball.

“At the end of the day, I’m just enjoying playing every day because it could be my last year, (or) it could not be,” Bottcher said. “I could get drafted, but if not, I’m just going to enjoy my last year playing.”

Eau Claire Express' Matt Bottcher makes a play at 2nd base.
Eau Claire Express' Matt Bottcher beats out an infield single.