Former Atascocita baseball player Ethan Klosterboer came by Texan Live and talked to us about how his first year of college is going. Before he told us about how college has been thus far, we reminisced about the game and the day that no Atascocita baseball player that season will forget.
Last season Atascocita made their first state tournament appearance and had a season to remember. They were tied in a best-of-3 series at one game a piece. Ethan stepped up to the plate for the Eagles in Game 3 of the UIL regional semi-finals against Rockwall-Heath at the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor. The bases were loaded, one out, and the game was tied. He knew he had to get the ball in the outfield somehow. “I love being in situations like that,” Klosterboer said. Earlier in the top of the 6th he made a play while patrolling 3rd base and playing deep. The Eagles had a one run lead with two outs but the tying run was on 3rd. A ball was hit sharply down the line; Klosterboer reached across his body, fielded, and threw a strike down to 1st base: “Safe!” The umpire shouted. Tie game. Feeling down about the situation, he received encouraging words nearby. “One of my teammates (Stephen Hunter) came up and said…Don’t worry you’ll get another chance to make a play,” Klosterboer said. His chance arrived. With the bases loaded he drove the ball into left field. The ball hung in air as Ryan Wadkins set up on 3rd base in anticipation of the play at the plate. The ball is caught by the left fielder, he threw the ball in…Wadkins races to home: “Safe!” The winning run is scored and Atascocita won the series and advanced to the regional final. “It was definitely one of the better days of my life,” Klosterboer admitted.
The day wasn’t over there. One thing some people may not know is that later that night Atascocita High School was having their graduation ceremony at Reliant Stadium (now NRG Stadium). So the boys got on the bus, stopped for their traditional chicken meal, and rushed back to Houston to get the six seniors to their graduation ceremony. “We were all having the time of our life, pulled up to Reliant, pulled up to the back, and there was an assistant principal waiting for us and hustling us down,” Klosterboer remembered. The boys were being rushed but were in no hurry as they were taking it all in. With the rented gowns they were given they finally made their entrance and were received to a standing ovation. “It was awesome,” Klosterboer confessed, “It made you feel like a celebrity.” Included with him were Travis Jones (Texas), Ryan Wadkins (Drury), Michael Ilardi (Southwestern), Nic Campos (Our Lady of the Lake), and Hunter Stephenson (Texas A&M).
The Eagles won their next series over Plano and clinched a berth to the state tournament in Round Rock, TX at the Dell Diamond. Atascocita fell to San Antonio Reagan 5-4 in their first game eliminating them from the tournament. Klosterboer said that he feels responsible for committing 2 costly errors. After the game he felt pretty down. His Dynasty coach called him concerned and asked if he wanted to play the day after they lost, a day in which they should’ve played for the state title. “He said if I didn’t play then, I’d never play again. He thought I was that upset,” Klosterboer said. He showed up and had one of the best days of his career. A school that happened to be scouting him that day: Kansas State. They liked what they saw and offered him a spot on the roster. It was an opportunity he couldn’t refuse. It was a situation that may never have happened if the Eagles had won the game against SA Reagan.
Since his arrival at Kansas State, Ethan has adjusted nicely. He admitted that he was a bit nervous going so far away from home but he has embraced it. “Within days of being up there, all of my nervousness was gone. I was meeting tons of people; school was not bad at all. It was an awesome experience right from the start,” Klosterboer stated. He also said he hasn’t come across anyone who hasn’t been genuinely nice. Currently he is majoring in Animal Science.
Baseball at Kansas State has been a bit different from what he is used to growing up. “Our coach and any other older players will tell you the same thing…if you want to be the best, if you want to be great, practice is every day,” Klosterboer stated. He admits that it’s no problem for him because he loves the game so much. Now at the collegiate level, it has elevated his passion for the game even more. He will make his collegiate debut on February 13th in Port Charlotte, FL against Iowa in the first game of the Snowbird Classic.
“It’s cool to be able to go to Kansas 12 hours away and have a certain pride in where you’re from,” Klosterboer said. He says that when he mentions he’s from Atascocita people are well aware of where it is and the reputation it has made.
Written by Mark M. Johnson