When Joey Bergles was thinking about what his baseball career would be like after high school and what road he wanted to take he didn’t expect to take the path he took, but he says he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I definitely wouldn’t change anything, even though it didn’t go the way I planned it to go,” he said. “It was everything I expect and I made so many great friends.”
After graduating from Geneseo High?School in 2007, Bergles decided to take his talents to Southeastern Community College in West Burlington, Iowa, in hopes of eventually playing Division I baseball.
“Baseball was really good at Southeastern, and we were really successful both years and I learned a lot,” said Bergles. “It was a lot different playing and coaching style. Half of the team was from Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, which was a cool experience to learn about their culture and how they play the game.
“My school was so heavy with Latin America players the big focus was on getting to the pros so it was cool to play in front of a lot of scouts.”
During his 2008 season at Southeastern, Bergles played in 11 games and started five. He had 11 at bats with seven runs, three hits and one RBI.
In 2009, Bergles saw action in 32 games at Southeastern and started 20 of them. He totaled 58 at bats with 20 hits, 22 runs, nine RBIs, seven doubles and one home run.
Bergles always knew he wanted to play baseball in college in some way or another, so he always kept working hard on his game to give him the best options he could.
After two years at Southeastern, Bergles moved on to play baseball at Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wis.
“Viterbo was a pretty good baseball program, I liked the area and I got a pretty good scholarship offer,” said Bergles. “It was a good experience.”
In his first year at Viterbo in 2010, Bergles played in 27 games and started in 11 where he had 29 at bats, 10 runs, 1 RBI, seven hits and one double.
“My first year was really good. Team-wise we did well, but I broke a bone in my wrist so I was out a month and when I was healthy again I wasn’t playing like I wanted to,” said Bergles.
Bergles had to medical redshirt his second year at Viterbo in 2011 due to a knee injury.
In his final year of college baseball, Bergles played in 30 and started in 23 games where he had 61 at bats. He totaled 14 hits with three doubles, six RBIs and four runs scored.
“This year didn’t go like I wanted. I expected to have a lot better season,” said Bergles, who played third base, outfield and pitched in his last year. “It was difficult to deal with individually, but it was a good life-learning experience. I wish I could have done better.”
With his career not going exactly as he had hoped Bergles said he never once thought about walking away.
“I have played baseball pretty much my whole life and it has been close to my No. 1 priority,” he said. “I love the game and just love being around it and that was the driving factor.”
For Bergles his best baseball experience was when he received the opportunity two years ago to play in the Northwoods League No. 2 college baseball league.
“A lot of the guys were from big Division I schools, we played a 70-game season and it was heavily scouted,” he said. “It was cool to play in that environment, and I?was able to do that because I went to Viterbo.”
One of the highlights of his playing career was throwing a complete game against the team that won the conference and only gave up three or four hits with seven strikeouts.
The most challenging part over these last few years for Bergles has been having his career not go the way he had hoped.
“I didn’t expect it to go like this, not only in baseball, things didn’t go the way I planned, but everything happens for a reason,” he said.
Bergles credits current Geneseo baseball coach and Bergles’ sophomore coach Steve Brucher with being a big influence.
“In the Summer 2004, he went out of his way to work with me more,” said Bergles.?“He really helped me be a better baseball player. Him going out of his way meant a lot to me now and did then. Coach Brucher knows the game and is a great coach and person.”
Bergles graduated from Viterbo with a degree in sports science and leadership in the Spring 2012.?He recently accepted a position to be the strength and conditioning coach at Webber International University in Babson Park, Fla.