Senior Sammy Seeger grows into utility role for Van Buren's baseball team

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier

Van Buren senior Sammy Seeger is going to find his way onto the baseball field.

The utility player is giving the Pointers flexibility this season as the team comes off of spring break and heads into the meat of the 5A West Conference season.

However, Seeger almost left baseball before his high school career even began.

Seeger felt like he wasn't able to contribute to the team because he was younger and smaller than the other kids in his grade. As a senior he stands at 6-foot-3.

"I had heard from some of the other players that he was going to quit, but I encouraged him to at least tryout," Van Buren coach Luke Weatherford said. "He came out, and he was good enough to make the team. He's worked hard in the weight room and on the field during practice and has become a good high school baseball player."

MORE:Van Buren, Alma ready for baseball season to start

MORE:Construction begins for new entrance, parking for Blakemore

He was also encouraged by his dad, Sam, who played college baseball for Dale Harpenau at Arkansas Tech (1993-96), to get back into the game. 

"My dad told me all of his lifelong friends are the ones he met playing baseball," the Van Buren senior said. "I'm glad I stuck with it. All these guys are my friends - from the guys who have already graduated to the freshmen on the team - and I don't know what I'll do without any of them."

Starting pitcher Luke Hughes' status is uncertain until after he gets an MRI this week so Weatherford will be relying on others to help fill the gap and that includes Seeger.

"He's just good at anything he does, and every time we put him in a different position he finds a way to make plays and do a good job," Weatherford said. "This year, we have him pitching for the first time, and he's done well. The only thing we haven't done is have him play catcher, but that's only because we don't have a need for it."

So far this season, Seeger has played at first, second, third, left field, and right field, as well.

Seeger will start in either the outfield or the infield depending upon who is pitching. His utility gives Weatherford and the other coach some added flexibility when moving players around to change pitchers during a game.

"It certainly makes it easier for us to be able to move him around," Weatherford said. "We won't have to take any of our offense out of the lineup."

Seeger had the game-winning hit for Van Buren on Tuesday at the Field of Dreams in the bottom of the seventh.

"Very proud of Sammy. It's time that he got one," Weatherford said. "He's squared up a lot of balls this year, and they have been outs, so it was nice to see him get one through the hole there."

"I'm not a power hitter. If I put the ball in play good things will happen for us," Seeger said. "The ball went down the line, and it worked."

Sammy visited UA-Fort Smith on Monday.

"They're talking to me. It's a great program, and I love the coach (Todd Holland)," Seeger said. "It's a very big possibility."