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A changeup of baseball positions for Rivets’ Eli Sanchez

“I’m super impressed just because, like as a position player, your arm slice is a little bit different, so going to pitching - it’s really hard.”
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 10:35 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “Yeah, I made all-state my senior year, was all-conference every year and conference MVP my junior year,” Rockford Rivets pitcher Eli Sanchez said.

“As a catcher?” I asked.

“As a catcher, yeah,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez started playing baseball as soon as he could walk. Growing up in a baseball-loving family, he found himself playing under his dad at Christian Life High School in Rockford as a catcher and position player, so this begs the question of why would Sanchez switch sides of the plate and transition to pitching in college?

“This last year actually, we were kind of down on arms, so it was just kind of like a trial thing where Coach had me pitch a little bit,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez attended Cedarville University for three years before transferring to Northern Illinois University where he made his pitching debut. The NIU husky caught the eyes of the Northwoods League and joined the team as a relief pitcher after graduation.

“I’m super impressed just because, like as a position player, your arm slice is a little bit different, so going to pitching - it’s really hard,” said teammate and first baseman Brian Fuentes.

Even though Sanchez spent most of his life on a merry-go-round of position changes, he says he truly loves being locked in at the bullpen getting a read on hitters.

“Best pitch? Probably a changeup,” Sanchez said.

“I think his best pitch might be the slider actually,” Fuentes said.

As long as it wasn’t a fastball, I thought I’d put him to work on the mound. I’m not at dinger status yet, but with a little practice, I think I could reel in some runs.

“The dream obviously is to get drafted and keep playing as long as I can,” Sanchez said. “I got a little bit to work on, especially being new as a pitcher. Right now, I’m just trying to get better everyday and see where that takes me and kind of go from there.”

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