Every successful team has to have their player that can make good things come out of tight situations and bring out the
best in the ball club.
For the Emporia State baseball team, that player is Senior Centerfielder Dillon Hazlett. Hazlett is a native Kansan but went to North Carolina University for his first years of collegiate baseball before transferring to ESU.
“Baseball is a mental game, and he brings that to the table each and every day,” said Head Coach Bob Fornelli. “He can run, and he is a great offensive player. He does a lot of little things that make our team good.”
This season alone, Hazlett has earned the MIAA Hitter of the Week twice and has also been named the Regional and National Hitter of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Hazlett became the first player from the MIAA to earn either award.
“It is nice to (get the honors),” Hazlett said. “As long as we keep winning is the main thing. I can get all those, but if we don’t win then it’s not so fun.”
Hazlett earned the hitting accolades after a particularly spectacular game against Lincoln University. With the score tied in the fifth, Hazlett singled to get on base then stole second and advanced on a hit to third before stealing home to score the go-ahead run.
“He is the guy (who) when we need a big hit he comes up with it (or) when we need to get somebody on base,” said Third Baseman Kevin Wempe. “He is a complete package as a baseball player and a great teammate as well.”
Known for stealing bases, Hazlett is 36 for 36 in stolen base attempts thus far in the season. Also adding to his offensive power is his .437 batting average and a high on base percentage of .489. This, coupled with his foot speed, makes him a capable player to score once he is on base. His speed also lends itself to his abilities as an outfielder.
“He can really run and has great baseball instincts,” Fornelli said. “He is not afraid to fail. He just competes, makes up his mind and goes.”
As well as being an outstanding baseball player, Hazlett is also a leader by example on the team always having a great attitude and working hard to reach team goals.
“He’s got a great attitude each and every day,” Fornelli said. “A lot of times, when your best player is one of your hardest workers, you’re going to have a good team that year. He definitely brings that everyday, works hard, competes, and on top of that, he is probably our best athlete in our baseball program that Emporia State has ever had.”