Archive for Wednesday, August 10, 2011

After 4-year career at Mill Valley, Appleby to play baseball at ESU

August 10, 2011

Baseball always has been a part of Ethan Appleby’s existence. It runs deep in his family’s veins.

Almost all of his intermediate relatives can pinpoint a part of their life that has been affected by baseball, he says.

For Appleby, a four-year varsity starter at Mill Valley High School, the pattern is no different. He worked tirelessly with some of the best instructors in the area to hone his skills, and now he is ready to take his game to the college level at Emporia State University.

“Emporia State was the first college camp I went to, and right off the start they showed me what it was like,” Appleby said. “They were very kind and consistent in how they treated me.”

In addition, Appleby generally was interested from the start, and the Hornets proved to be kind to his family throughout the recruiting process.

“That just really stuck with me because it’s the sense of how respectable he’s treated me,” Appleby said of ESU head coach Bob Fornelli. “As long as I’ve known him he’s been as consistent as possible.

“It also feels like a home for me … that even if baseball fell through, if I got hurt and could never play again, I could still want to go there. It’s a nice town. There are a lot of nice people there. It’s just a good community around me and the baseball program.”

At the beginning of Appleby’s senior season at MVHS, it was unclear how much he would be able to contribute to the Jaguars because he was recovering from an arm injury.

“It was really tough because I’ve been really looking forward to my senior season,” he said. “Everything has built up until then. Throughout the years I’ve been getting better, and recently I figured out a new form. It was very unfortunate, but I tried to make a positive out of it. I tried to work harder and get better even though I was injured. “

He tore several muscles in his forearm last summer at a camp in Omaha, Neb. Recovery was slow as he struggled to rebuild his power and velocity on the mound.

“My summer coach, Rob Jackson, has really helped me with some of my mechanical issues, along with Jeff Strickland, my high school coach,” Appleby said. “They were helping me a lot with it to do the best I could. It sucked that I couldn’t play right away, but I knew if I kept working at it I’d be fine and help the team any way I could.”

At present, Appleby is fully recovered and healthy. He said the injury actually helped him learn about his body and strengthen his muscles for the future.

“I just had some issues I needed to fix, and coach taught me to do certain things that would help me be more successful so I wouldn’t have to worry about injuries down the road,” he said. “It would give me a little more jump on my fastball.”

Jackson also has helped Appleby turn into a well-rounded pitcher throughout the past four years.

“He pretty much turned me into a pitcher,” Appleby said. “I used to be a thrower; now he turned me into a pitcher. He got me more well rounded and helped me immensely throughout the years.”

Ever since Appleby was a youngster, instructors at Mac-n-Seitz have guided him in baseball. Several former major- league players have helped him improve.

His most influential hitting coach continues to be David Segui, a 15-year major-league veteran, who has been vital to Appleby’s approach at the plate.

“Every time I’d swing he would know exactly what I did wrong and tell me right away so I knew how to fix it,” Appleby said. “We focused on mechanics and just a lot reps and made sure everything was perfect.”

Appleby has grown into not only a premier baseball player, but also a mature and confident young man who knows there will be some challenges in moving away from home.

“I think the biggest transition will be living on my own for the first time and going out there and being responsible for my academics as much for my athletics,” he said.

Still, Appleby will never forget the memories he made with his high school friends over the past four years, in particular making it to the Class 5A state tournament in 2010 during his junior season.

“In the four years I made a lot of good friends; I made a lot of individual growth and maturity,” he said. “(I learned) how to handle the stress of baseball and all of that. Going in as freshman, you don’t know what to expect. From day one onto my last day of baseball it was all about the team trying to be successful as a team.”

Appleby is certain he’s put himself in a position to be successful, and he hopes to make an impression on the ESU program from the beginning.

“I’d like to be able to be successful and make a dent in the program and be able to help the team right away and play,” he said.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.