Paul Wendling (Bishop Miege, 2018) has committed to play catcher at Indiana State University. His path to playing Division 1 college baseball is a great story for any player who aspires to play at the collegiate level.
First, congratulations! Playing baseball at Indiana State is a huge accomplishment. How did you meet the ISU coaching staff?
Thanks! I’ve always dreamed of playing D1 baseball, so this is a dream come true. An ISU coach noticed me at the Best of the Midwest Showcase. He called a few days later to introduce himself and to ask for my summer schedule. He met me the next week at a tournament in Saint Louis, and after the tournament, he invited me to attend camp at ISU that fall. I, of course, accepted the offer. I showed up and played well enough for the head coach, Mitch Hannahs, to invite me to an unofficial visit. It was during that visit that they extended an offer to me.
Wow! All that from attending a showcase? That’s impressive.
Yeah, I’m still amazed how quickly it happened. But, it wasn’t stress-free. Every time I played for the coaches, I felt myself putting more and more pressure on myself to play well. It was all worth it, though.
Did you consider any other schools or were you set on ISU?
Other schools were on my list, but I was sold on ISU after the first camp experience. I absolutely loved working with the coaching staff, the facilities are top-notch, and the campus is amazing.
What happened after you committed to play at ISU?
I’ve stayed in touch with the coaches. We touch base at least one time each month to discuss grades, baseball, and workout protocols. They are working really hard to help me be as prepared as possible for college. Which, that speaks to the type of coaches they are and how they are fully invested in each player.
What type of workouts are you doing?
The workouts are very different than anything I’ve done in the past. They focus primarily on flexibility and explosiveness. But, that doesn’t mean that they are easy. They are the hardest workouts I’ve ever done. It’s crazy to realize how much more it helps to work out like this compared to just lifting weights.
That’s impressive to hear considering you are known for your unending work ethic. Are there any influences you can point to in helping develop that trait?
My high school coach, Will Gordon, always says that no matter how hard you’re working, there is someone else out there working harder. So, I always take it upon myself to be the hardest worker and the most dedicated person that I can be.
That quality shows. Is that what you would tell a young IE player if they asked you for advice?
Yes, without a doubt. It’s important to learn early on that hard work gets results. I would also tell them to soak it all in because it goes by fast! So, be the hardest working kid in the organization and extend your baseball career a few more years.
That’s great advice! To close, can you share what playing at Inside Edge Baseball has meant to you?
Playing here means so much to me. I met some of my best friends wearing IE gear. Those close friendships and the quality coaching have taught me how to compete while being a great teammate. I owe a lot to all the coaches and especially to Todd. He definitely taught me more about baseball than any other coach or individual. It’s amazing to listen to his stories about the big leagues and especially his time at the Dodgers. There are so many small details to take in from those stories. His confidence in me allowed me to play at the highest level possible. I know he trusts me with every play, so when he says to play like your life depends on it, it’s easy to do. That’s what I do in baseball and in life.