By: Alexis Brudnicki
Canadian Baseball Network
Growing up in Texas, Travis Wacker had a firsthand look at just how big baseball can be at every level.
Before moving north of the border heading into his eighth grade year, the catcher and infielder watched teams from his state and the others around it compete at the highest level that collegiate sports have to offer, knowing that someday he wanted to be a part of it.
After four years with the Fieldhouse Pirates and two more at Grayson County College in Denison, Texas, Wacker’s college dream came to fruition at the end of April, when he committed to play his junior and senior seasons at Oklahoma State University with the Cowboys.
“I verbally committed last Friday while I was at Oklahoma State on my visit,” Wacker said. “The facilities and school overall were amazing and I really liked the setup of everything. Growing up in Texas half my life, I have always watched Big 12 [conference] sports and it has always been my dream and goal to play in the Big 12.
“Oklahoma State has really turned around as a baseball program since head coach [Josh] Holliday arrived, and I really noticed how passionate all the coaches were. This has helped them be a top team in the Big 12, which really helped in my choice. Getting to talk to all of the coaches really made me realize that I wanted to play there, as it will put me in the best situation to make me the best player possible.
“I’m really excited to get up there and play with their great program and experience the atmosphere. I also know I have work to do, and I have to stay focused in the moment for the rest of the year at Grayson, where we have a chance to go to and win the [junior college] World Series.”
During his time with the Pirates – moving to Oakville with his family because of his father’s job – Wacker impressed his teammates and the coaching staff with both his ability and work ethic – and the staff at Grayson, to whom he was introduced by Fieldhouse coach Matt Baird – and the program is proud to see its graduate heading to Stillwater, Oklahoma to further pursue his baseball career.
“He went from being a player who possessed a lot of tools to a player who could use those tools on the field and get results,” said Jimmy Richardson, Director of Player Development for the Fieldhouse Pirates. “Travis is a low-maintenance, tireless worker who put in the work to become a high-end player…
“With Travis heading to Oklahoma State next season, I expect him to jump in and be an impact player in the lineup right away. Travis had always had the ability to elevate his game against top competition, and I don’t expect that to change.”
Through 51 games with Grayson this season, Wacker has posted a .384/.466/.579 slash line with nine home runs, eight doubles, 29 walks and 66 RBI for the Vikings. Enjoying his time back in his home state once again, the young player is especially grateful for his time with the Pirates and how it helped him along the way.
“It’s definitely different,” Wacker said of playing in Canada. “Just because you’re training indoors most of the year compared to being outside all-year round. It has its benefits though, because you rest your body more, and it really helped me develop more as an overall player.”
The Pirates are excited to watch their former player’s continued development as he moves forward, knowing that he can find success wherever he takes the field.
“The things that impress me the most about Travis aren’t the obvious tools he possesses, it’s his demeanour and his compete level on the field,” Richardson said. “Regardless of how much pressure there is on him in any given situation, he doesn’t get tight and is always ready to produce. Playing in the Big 12 for a storied program in front of large crowds is no joke, but Travis will relish that opportunity.”