Danielson making strides in 1st year

He may not crack the starting lineup very often, but Eric Danielson is learning plenty from watching in his first year with the Minot Vistas American Legion baseball team.

Being the primary backup to Brady Lampert at third base, Danielson is typically left to observe from the dugout. With Lampert locking down the hot corner, Danielson has appeared in just eight games this year.

Despite seeing limited action on the field, Danielson’s work ethic is always in full swing.

“He works hard,” Minot coach Todd Larson said. “Every day in practice he’s working to get better. He’s backing up Brady Lampert right now. Brady’s had an outstanding year so Eric hasn’t had a lot of opportunities. We’ve tried putting him in situations where he can have success, and he has. Tip our hat to Eric for doing exactly that.”

Danielson has made the most of his opportunities, especially at the plate. He’s recorded a hit in five games and sports a .294 batting average. Danielson’s last two hits – one against both Devils Lake and Williston – have been doubles.

In his Vistas debut on June 10 against Beulah, Danielson went 1-for-3 with a run scored. While his name may not always appear in the box score at the end of the night, Danielson’s role stretches outside the playing field.

“I’m just doing what needs to be done,” Danielson said. “That may be warming up someone in the bullpen when Jake (Magnuson) is gone or when Braden (Lach) is gone. Really anything they need me to do.”

That also includes keeping Minot’s game and season statistics on the iPad.

With a .667 fielding percentage, Danielson is still looking to improve. Lampert has helped him along the way.

“Brady’s a great teacher over at third base,” Danielson said. “He shows me a whole bunch of little things I can work on.”

Danielson entered this season with plenty to adjust to after spending the spring season with Minot High’s junior varsity squad. Larson said he’s seeing Danielson make that adjustment.

“The pace of the game is different,” he said. “It’s a big step from JV baseball or Metro baseball from last summer to the Vistas. It’s a long learning curve and he’s making strides.”

Danielson is looking forward to the opportunity to step into a starting role next year if his number is called. For now, he’s thankful for the help and support he’s received from the more experienced Vistas.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today if they weren’t teaching us what we needed to learn and helping us learn every step of the way,” Danielson said.

Mike Kraft covers the Minot Vistas and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.