01/05/2015 11:30 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – Jan. 5, 2015 – Austin Jetel’s favorite summer baseball memory came when he went 12-for-14 in a tournament at the University of Notre Dame and launched a grand slam on the Fighting Irish’s field.
That memory may be tough to top, but Jetel will seek more breakout summer performances while playing with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen in 2015.
The left-handed hitting Butler first baseman latched on with the Bulldogs after playing for one of the best travel teams in Chicago within the Top Tier system.
“He’s a big, solid kid,” Butler coach Steve Farley said. “He’s a guy with some gap power, so he’s going to get some extra-base hits. He has a solid swing, and a bonus is that he’s a very good defensive first baseman.”
Jetel batted .401 with five home runs as a junior at Fremd High School, before following that up with a .412 average and four homers his senior season. The most memorable moment of his prep career came during his junior campaign, when Jetel scored the winning run to lift Fremd to its first regional title in 11 years.
To start his collegiate career, Jetel went through an unexpected setback as he battled mononucleosis starting in mid-August. The illness kept him out for most of the fall season.
“I’m getting back into the swing of things and getting ready for the season now,” Jetel said. “I’m starting to work out and my body is starting to feel good again. My swing feels really good, it’s just a matter of getting all suited up and ready to go.”
Farley’s biggest concern is that Jetel may push himself too hard to try to compensate for the time he lost during the fall.
“You can’t totally make up for the lost ground,” Farley said. “He can’t get back the days in the fall when he missed practice, but he was still out there with his teammates, watching, learning and listening. I want to see him push the envelope, but not push it too far where he breaks down.”
Jetel becomes the sixth Butler player in Oilmen history, boosting the Bulldogs past Purdue and Akron as the school with the most Oilmen. Brodie Meyer, Danny Pobereyko, Chris Marras, Nick Saldutti (now at Taylor University) and Nick Bartolone are the Butler players to previously spend time with Northwest Indiana.
Jetel, whose goal for this season is to increase his power numbers while maintaining a high batting average, impressed the Butler coaching staff while playing for the Top Tier travel program.
“He’s played in some of the bigger tournaments down at East Cobb or out west in California, and he’s held his own against good competition,” Farley said. “All those kids that he’s played against are college-level prospects, and he’s done well, so we expect him to do well here.”