The Oracle

Chance meeting provides fortunate outcome

Participating in a South Carolina summer baseball league leads Summers to Hamline.

Senior shortstop and former third baseman Tyler Summers at bat in a game earlier this season.

Senior shortstop and former third baseman Tyler Summers at bat in a game earlier this season.

Senior shortstop and former third baseman Tyler Summers at bat in a game earlier this season.

Josh Dungan, Senior Reporter

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In the summer after finishing his junior college career, senior Tyler Summers decided to play in a summer league with one of his JUCO friends and chanced onto meeting some Hamline players.

“We ended up getting on the same team as three guys who played for Hamline that were juniors going into their senior season,” Summers said. “Just hanging out one day during a hurricane out in South Carolina, we started talking about schools and I asked them if they had any positions open here at Hamline and I ended up talking to the coach and a couple of weeks later I was on my way to Hamline.”

When Summers arrived at Hamline, he was immediately slotted into the starting lineup as Hamline’s third baseman.

“Last year when he came in as a junior college transfer, talent-wise, he fit right in and was a contributor right away,” head coach Jim Weyandt said. “He started out last year at third, he played a little shortstop after we had some injuries and this year has played entirely at shortstop.”

The men’s baseball team this year has only six graduating players on it, so the core senior class is small, but it’s been extremely important in leading the team to a 20-10 overall (10-4 conference) record.

“We have very strong leadership on our team, but it’s more lead-by-example kind of leadership,” said Weyandt. “Tyler has brought the vocal component to this senior class and it’s been really been important for our program.”

The 2015 season saw the Pipers end the year 21-19 after losing seven of their final nine games of the season. This year, the Pipers have managed to keep losing streaks away and it has helped them remain in third place in the conference.

“This team’s resiliency has been fantastic all year,” said Weyandt. “They’ve never lost more than two games in a row and they’ve never been swept on a day so they’ve never lost two games on the same day.”

Both Weyandt and Summers’ teammates praised his leadership for the team.

“One thing that he’s come into over this last year is his leadership role,” said senior Nick Beckman. “Tyler’s a great leader and that’s something we all appreciate. He serves as someone that a lot of people look up to.”

Weyandt was especially approving of his senior shortstop’s ability to rally the team around him.

“Tyler’s taken his leadership to another level this year,” Weyandt said. “Tyler plays the game very hard, plays it the right way, and will lead by example and by being very vocal.”

This year Summers has taken over the shortstop position and has locked it down for the Pipers.

“I definitely prefer shortstop to third base,” said Summers. “It gets more action, I have more time to see the ball and I’ve played short a lot better than I played third base. It feels good to be back in the middle infield.”

Summers has been a clutch player for the Pipers this year, coming up with huge hits when the Pipers have needed them.

“Offensively, he’s the guy who gets those big hits for us,” said Weyandt. “He had two home runs a couple of weeks ago against Bethel when we needed to win the second game and I believe he’s over 30 runs scored on the year and driven in 30 runs. The name of the game is creating runs and he’s accounted for 60 of ours.”

With eight games to go, the Pipers will look to keep their hold on third place in the MIAC or even look to move up as they play the rest of their conference schedule. Summers will be a big part of their success, so look for him to continue to contribute as the team finishes out their season.

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Chance meeting provides fortunate outcome