For three years, Eric Seiler was a go-to guy for the Dickinson Midgets high school and Dickinson Roughriders American Legion baseball teams.
The crafty left-handed pitcher made the perfect complement to all-state ace right-hander Stephen Laylock for two seasons and became Dickinson’s top starter as a senior, when he was named to the Class A all-state team. He tried walking on at North Dakota State the past two seasons, only to be turned away.
“Both times they kept me around and I got to practice with them a couple weeks,” Seiler said. “They ended up letting me go both years. My velocity wasn’t where it needed to be. I’m assuming (because) I took those couple years off.”
The 20-year-old Dickinson High School graduate is ready to get back on the field for good now. He has recently signed to play for the Dickinson State baseball team and second-year coach Jason Watson.
Because he graduated in 2010 and has four semesters of college, Seiler will likely start his career as a sophomore on the roster due to NAIA rules allowing athletes to be full-time students for only 10 semesters.
He said watching baseball, be it at NDSU or coming home to see the Midgets and Roughriders play, made him miss being on the field while knowing he had all of his eligibility remaining.
“Every time I’d get back to Dickinson, I’d go to Midgets practice and I’d go down to the games and watch them play,” Seiler said. “I guess I just missed it so much I had to get back into Dickinson and try to play again.”
Seiler played a huge role in the Roughriders trips to the 2008 and 2009 Central Plains Regional Tournament and could make an immediate impact for the Blue Hawks next spring.
Watson is bringing in 10 pitchers, including four left-handers. But few have the experience of playing at a high pre-college level like Seiler.
Seiler is coaching the Dickinson 13-year-olds this summer. Throwing batting practice to them is helping get his arm back in shape he said, adding he’s also using a summer workout program Watson has given him.
“I guess we’ll have to see,” Seiler said. “Once I get back into it, I hope I can start where I left off.”