baseball

Ethan Fischel making big strides at Willamette

Willamette Bearcats vs Puget Sound Loggers

Photo by Christopher Sabato/Willamette University – Ethan Fischel in action for Willamette this season.

By Ray Hamill — A breakout season of sorts came to an abrupt end for former Eureka standout Ethan Fischel last week, as it did for so many college athletes around the nation.

The 2018 Loggers graduate was enjoying a big year on the baseball diamond at Willamette University when the season was canceled due to concerns over COVID-19.

And while Fischel admits he was a little disappointed over the decision, he also understands there was nothing he could do about the situation.

“I was a little upset, but it’s out of my control, so it’s not something I was super disappointed about,” he said. “I felt bad for the seniors.”

The starting shortstop will get his season of eligibility back, and had intended on spending five years at the school anyway, with plans on getting an MBA at Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

He did, however, see a breakout season of sorts end early, after taking over as starting shortstop for the 8-8 Bearcats.

At the plate, Fischel was batting .254 with a team best 20 RBIs, almost twice as many as anyone else on the team.

He also had three home runs, three doubles and five stolen bases, but it was his defense that had shown the biggest improvement from a year ago.

Willamette Bearcats vs Puget Sound Loggers

Photo by Christopher Sabato/Willamette University

“We had a really good group, and I was having a great time with the guys, and I was happy with the way I was playing,” he said. “But we are definitely younger, so we’ll get a lot of guys back next year.”

After splitting time around the infield as a freshman, Fischel says he benefitted from the guidance of last year’s senior shortstop Tyler Janitz and what he describes as an “amazing” coaching staff at Willamette.

“He kind of took me under his wing and taught me a lot of stuff,” Fischel said of Janitz. “Defense was tough for me coming out of high school, I’m not going to lie, but I’ve definitely improved.”

The sophomore shortstop says the speed of the game has slowed down for him since his freshman year.

Playing the past two summers for the Humboldt B52s also has helped with that adjustment, and his success with the Eureka based summer collegiate team has not gone unnoticed.

Willamette Bearcats vs Puget Sound Loggers

Photo by Christopher Sabato/Willamette University

This summer, Fischel has been invited to play for the Humboldt Crabs, a challenge he says he’s looking forward to.

In the meantime, with no games to play, Fischel will be returning home this weekend to close out the semester online.

And he’ll be preparing for the summer season as best he can, with an indoor batting cage in his garage, as well as a padded wall to practice his defense off, and a family treadmill.

“I’ll be doing everything I can,” he said.

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