Eggl quarterbacking Vistas in second season
Austin Eggl knows a thing or two about being a leader.
He served as the starting quarterback for the Bishop Ryan football team his final three years, leading the Lions to the playoffs all three seasons.
The lessons he learned as a signal caller on the football field translates well to his current role as the Minot Vistas American Legion baseball team’s starting shortstop.
“When you’re the quarterback you’re in charge of a lot of things,” Eggl said. “You always have to be vocal and those are skills that are easily translatable to baseball. Baseball’s a game where communicating and being vocal is very important.”
Eggl learned valuable leadership skills backing up Caleb Fornshell last year. Fornshell – a shortstop for Minot State – had a positive impact on Eggl during the year they spent together last season.
“Fornshell was a great shortstop,” Eggl said. “I learned a lot from him, a lot about work ethic and how to approach the game. I really respect the way he played, so I really learned a lot during that time.”
Minot coach Todd Larson said he’s seen Eggl’s leadership abilities shine through during his two years with the Vistas.
“He’s giving direction to our infield,” he said. “He’s a very confident kid, but not overconfident. He just goes about his business and does things very well.”
Eggl leads the team with 46 fielding assists, 17 more than Travis Walker, who has the second-most with 29. He’s made 34 putouts and has helped turn seven double plays. Eggl has a .825 fielding percentage, committing 17 errors.
At the plate, Eggl’s batting .328 with a .440 on-base percentage. In the No. 5 spot in the order – matching his uniform number – Eggl’s delivered four extra-base hits, 16 RBIs and 17 runs. He hit his first career grand slam Saturday against Williston. It was also his first home run of the season.
“He’s having a good year right now,” Larson said. “He’s a leader. Quarterback for the Ryan football team. He knows how to lead kids. He’s a very, very athletic kid and we’re happy to have him.”
When he’s not he’s on the mound. Eggl recorded Minot’s first win of the season, allowing three runs on six hits over six innings and striking out four against Fargo on June 6.
Sometimes things don’t always go smoothly, but that doesn’t faze Eggl.
In his second start, Eggl was roughed up for 10 runs on seven hits in just a third of an inning against Moorhead (Minn.) on June 17.
“That’s baseball for you,” Eggl said. “Sometimes that happens. You feel like you make some decent pitches and they put good swings on it and you make a mistake or two and they make you pay. You just have bad days.”
Said Larson: “He’s mentally tough. He’s been through a lot different situations with all the different sports he’s participated in. He’s a good kid to have out there.”
Eggl bounced back in his next appearance on the mound, a 14-0 victory against Devils Lake in five innings. Eggl tossed a complete-game five-hitter to improve to 2-1.
This summer is Eggl’s final go around with baseball as he’ll attend Presentation College (S.D.) for football in the fall.
Mike Kraft covers the Minot Vistas and racing during the summer. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.