01/20/2016 12:43 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – January 20, 2016 – For some players that spent their whole lives striving for the chance to play Division-I baseball, narrowly missing out on D-I offers could cause frustration and a sense of defeat.
That situation only fueled the fire that burns inside Heartland freshman Josh Fewell.
“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “After my junior season, I felt like I was going to get some offers. I feel like I got looked over in high school. I use that as motivation to get me where I want to be and reach my goal.”
Fewell will carry that motivation with him to Oil City Stadium, where he will compete as a member of the Midwest Collegiate League’s Northwest Indiana Oilmen this summer.
The powerful left-handed hitter had Division-II options in Indiana available out of high school, but he selected Heartland, which he described as “one of the best JUCOs around,” in order to pursue his D-I aspirations.
Offense is never a question for Fewell, who was a three-time all-conference honoree, achieved all-state as a junior and notched all-state honorable mention as a senior at Maconaquah High School in Bunker Hill, Indiana.
“Plus power is definitely my best attribute,” Fewell said. “I can work on being more consistent at the plate, making more contact, striking out less and laying off pitches in the dirt.”
Fewell and Heartland coach Nate Metzger agree that defense is where Fewell has the most room for improvement. He played mostly third baseman in high school and outfield during the fall, but will likely compete for playing time at first base this spring.
“We’re into our second week of practice after break, and he’s been at first base,” Metzger said. “I think that’s where he needs to be. Arm strength is not a plus with him. First base is probably the most logical spot. He’s athletic enough that he can go in the outfield and handle himself OK out there too.”
For a junior college player, the summer between freshman and sophomore year is critical. With four-year schools beginning to scout the JUCO ranks and an important fall season on the horizon, Fewell will have more than enough motivation when he trots onto the Oil City Stadium diamond.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” he said. “It’s a great chance to be away from home, but also not too far away from home. I’ll get to play multiple times on a great field against great competition. It’ll be a great experience for me to develop as a player.”
Metzger described Fewell as a low-key, small-town kid who fits well at Heartland. Fewell becomes the fourth Heartland player to play for the Oilmen, joining Keith Mahler, Cody Dykema and Kenny Mahala.
When his baseball career is said and done, Fewell, a 3.0 GPA student, wants to become a teacher and coach. He’s pursuing a degree in elementary education.
“My mom is a teacher and two of my brothers are teachers, so from a young age, I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher. I really like young kids; I think they’re interesting and fun to be around. It will be a great experience to teach them every day, be around them and enhance their lives.”