After missing out last summer, Vesely back with Generals

Keldy  Ortiz

June 27, 2013 at 1:27 a.m.

Generals infielder Hayden Vesely runs to second during a game last week. The former St. Joseph  player will be heading to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi after two seasons at Blinn College.

Generals infielder Hayden Vesely runs to second during a game last week. The former St. Joseph player will be heading to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi after two seasons at Blinn College.   Sarah Ganzhorn for The Victoria Advocate

When Hayden Vesely steps in the batter's box at Riverside Stadium, he calls it home.

On the field, Vesely has had more experience fielding ground balls than any other Victoria Generals player this season. The Victoria native played at Riverside Stadium with St. Joseph for four years before graduating in 2011.

For the last two summers, Vesely has played in a Generals uniform. This season hopes to be a productive and injury-free one.

After injuring his shoulder prior to the first season, he was limited to playing four games in 2012.

"To know I was going to be spending the rest of my summer rehabbing my shoulder was tough," said the 20-year-old Victoria native. "I thought taking time off before I played with the Generals would make it better, but it didn't."

The soon-to-be junior at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi hopes to pick up where he left off last summer.

"It's nice to be away for a while and coming back to play in front of family and friends," said the second basemen.

Pitching for the Flyers his senior year, Vesely had a 1.97 ERA, which equaled a 10-2 record. Batting, he had a .456 average along with 23 RBIs.

His father, Larry, didn't mind going to the games when his son was young. The family made vacations around whenever Hayden and his brother played on all-star teams and traveled.

"It's been a real pleasure to see him play at home," said Larry. "We supported them."

His playing ability at St. Joseph was recognized by Blinn College, where he played in fall 2011.

Transitioning from high school to college baseball was difficult for Vesely.

He didn't pitch because coaches believed he was better suited on the field. He had success as a Flyer, but he learned to adjust as a Buccaneer.

"I had to learn to cope with a lot more failure," he said. "Youth baseball came easy to me in high school as it does to most high school players. But in college, you get humbled really quick, and you have to learn to take failure and make it to success and not dwell on things."

During his tenure at Blinn, Vesely played against Wharton County Junior College, where Generals coach Stephen Flora is an assistant coach. Flora knew Vesely would be a good player when he moved to a four-year college.

"You can put him just about anywhere in the lineup as well, and he's going to put productive at-bats well," Flora said. "He truly is a universal utility type guy."

Vesely did well his freshman year in 2012, hitting for a .267 batting average with 19 RBIs.

This summer, Vesely almost didn't make his Generals debut, as there were no spots available on the roster.

"I got a summer job, and I was going to jump in some summer games with my old summer team," he said.

At the last minute, Generals GM Blake Koch had a open slot for Vesely. Though he was limited last season, Koch brought him back for a second year.

"He's been, I think, one of our better players this summer," Koch said. "On a team that's been a little bit shaky defensively, he hasn't really had any issues defensively."

This season, Vesely has not shown any signs of injury. He has a .214 average in 17 games through Wednesday. Excited about playing with the Generals and playing at home, Vesely knows this time with the Generals will prepare him for his next step.

"I stayed in Texas, and my parents and grandparents got to watch me play now and will continue to watch me play in Corpus," he said.



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