SOPHOMORE ERIK WETZEL is a baseball player, a college student, a friend, a brother and a son.
A son who has worked hard since he was young to follow in his fatherâ€™s footsteps and make his parents proud.
Wetzel has had lot of support from his family to help him reach his goals in college and baseball. When Wetzelâ€™s mother was diagnosed with cancer, both his parents showed up to support him in his entire first season as a Bulldog before she lost her battle to cancer and died shortly after the season ended.
â€œMy mom and dad followed me basically everywhere last year,” Wetzel said. â€œThey just wanted to see as many games as possible.”
Fortunately, Cathy Wetzel saw her son earn Freshman All-American status. He started every game while playing second base for most of the season. He had a batting average of .325, including 11 doubles, two triples and a home run. She was able to see it all.
â€œI know it was her dream to raise us three [boys] the best she could, and have us do the best we could in whatever we wanted to do,” Wetzel said. â€œShe has always been a big supporter in me playing baseball and going to college. She just wants me to go and get a degree and play baseball as long as I can. She knows it was one of my goals.”
Wetzel was brought up playing baseball with his two older brothers under his fatherâ€™s watch. David Wetzel played in the minor leagues for the Angels and has always had a love for the game. The oldest opted out of playing the sport, but the younger two stuck with it. After his other brother stopped playing last year, Wetzel was the only one left pursuing the dream.
â€œYou know dads always want their kids to do what they did,” Wetzel said. â€œIt is definitely one of my dreams, too.”
Wetzel continuously works hard to live up to his dreams and never loses sight of his goals.
â€œErik is a pure baseball player from a baseball family. Every day he is fun to coach and fun to watch play,” said Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole. â€œHe gets it done in the classroom, on the field and he is a great teammate. We expect him to follow up an outstanding freshman year, in which we won the WAC Championship and WAC Tournament, with another great year.”
Teammates respect him for his hard work and loyalty to the game.
â€œAs a sophomore he is one of the leaders on the team,” said teammate Loren Storey. â€œHe works hard at everything everyday from school to the field. He is the best second basemen I have ever played with, and itâ€™s good to have him on our side.”
Wetzel is trying to set an example for the younger guys with his hard work ethic. As for the season, he wants to win the WAC Championship. The Bulldogs had a tough beginning to the season, going 9-13 and 0-7 on the road. That doesnâ€™t seem to concern him.
â€œWe are still finding our way on where people should play and where people should hit,” Wetzel said. â€œWeâ€™re finding the right chemistry we need. Weâ€™re not too worried, itâ€™s a long season, and baseball has always been a marathon, itâ€™s not a sprint. So we just got to go out there and play every day.”
Wetzel still gets the support he needs from the fans to stay focused. In fact, his dad has been at just about every game this season. Although he has one less fan in the stands, Wetzel believes that she is still watching him live his dream.
â€œHe is a baseball player, heâ€™s a scrapper,” Storey said. â€œEvery time you hear that â€˜Wetzel while you work,â€™ you know itâ€™s time to get down.”