By Cody Shook, Sports Editor
Coming into West Liberty University as a freshman, Ethan Estes was 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed in at 170 pounds, and he had to make the transition from playing shortstop his whole life to moving across the diamond to play second base at the Division II level. The move from high school to college was more difficult than Estes expected, as he struggled through the team’s first ten games and was replaced at second base. However, that didn’t stop Estes’ drive and determination to get back out on the field.
A country boy from Fleming, Ohio, he attended Warren High School and played three sports over the course of his four years there. Soccer was a one and done in high school and after an injury playing basketball, Estes knew that he had to focus in on his one true love if he ever wanted to play baseball at the college level.
Growing up as a kid, Estes gravitated towards baseball, idolizing professional shortstops like Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken Jr. With this love and determination, he became a highly sought after recruit for head coach Eric Burkle and the West Liberty baseball team.
Working hard in the off-season, Estes was able to earn his starting spot back at second base. Early into the season, he had a game that he will never forget. “It was cold and snowy, and we were playing against Ohio Valley University, and in the bottom of the ninth inning, I came up to the plate with a chance to walk it off. I hit a single into the outfield to win the game for my team and that’s just something that will stay in my mind forever,” Estes said.
Each off-season, Estes has trained harder to improve himself on and off of the field. When he came back as a junior, he had to make the transition to shortstop, where his game flourished and he started 48 games.
Returning for his senior season, Estes has worked harder than ever before to prepare himself and his team for what he hopes is a Mountain East Conference championship run.
Majoring in ecology, Estes always has a full plate with baseball and school, but he eases his stress by being at a river and bass fishing or in the woods, set up in his treestand and deer hunting. Estes plans on working in a fishery or with wildlife after graduation because of his love for animals and the outdoors.
As his time at West Liberty dwindles down, Estes knows that the most emotional day in his future will be his last game as a college baseball player because he’s seen former seniors after their final games. He knows how tough it’s going to be to hang up the cleats for the final time.
“School is huge and graduation is going to be an emotional time,” Estes said, “but the friendships and the relationships that you make while playing baseball are going to last for the rest of my life.”
Photo Credit: Hilltoppersports.com