MLB Contender Evan Van Hoosier is Best Buds with Team Manager

Evan Van Hoosier

Evan Van Hoosier, photo courtesy of David Clark

By Robert Vendettoli

College of Southern Nevada Freshman Evan Van Hoosier is on his way to being one of the best second basemen in junior-college baseball, but that’s not the only thing that sets him apart.

“Something people wouldn’t know about me is that I have a soft spot for kids with Down syndrome,” Van Hoosier said. “Matt Cutler has been one of my best buds since my freshman year of high school. Our relationship is really close, whether on the field or off the field. I love hanging out with him.”

While others might shy away from making friends with kids that might be perceived as different, Van Hoosier thinks otherwise.

His best friend Cutler is CSN’s baseball team manager and has Down syndrome. Van Hoosier thinks Cutler is one of the guys. They grow together on and off the field.

On the diamond, Van Hoosier has been a lightning rod for the Coyotes offense and has become a vital part of the program’s resurgence. Coyotes finished the season with a 39-15 record, good for a national ranking of sixth and a No. 1 seed in the Region 18 Tournament.

“He’s the best player I’ve ever played with,” said Logan Comphel, infielder for the Coyotes. “He’s not afraid to fail and that’s what sets him apart from everyone else.”

Van Hoosier isn’t your typical baseball player. He has the potential to become an all-around second baseman at the next level. Van Hoosier shows great poise at the plate, with the ability to hit with both contact and power.

Van Hoosier has great fielding range and plays the position defensively better than anyone in the Scenic West Athletic Conference. His speed is distinct and he has the ability to steal bases on any play and stretches routine singles into extra base hits with ease. He currently has a batting average of .333 with 51 hits and has seen his power numbers go up as he’s hit five doubles, nine triples and four homeruns. He’s stolen 13 bases and has played consistent defense all season.

“Evan’s a special player,” said Nick Garritano, head coach of the Coyotes. “Everyone knows him for his hitting, but he can also defend very well. He also has the speed that gives opposing teams fits.”

What stands out most about Van Hoosier is that he’s established himself as a prospect on a professional level. Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies selected him in the 26th round last June out of Green Valley High School, where he earned All-State honors his senior season.

“Green Valley [baseball] has always been a very well-respected program,” Van Hoosier said. “During my years as a Gator, we were always one of the top teams everyone wanted to beat, so we always got to see every other team’s best pitches. Playing at Green Valley prepared me for college ball.”

Green Valley High School is where Van Hoosier met Cutler. He says that over the years they’ve grown even closer and he calls Cutler one of his best friends.

According to Van Hoosier, Cutler was the manager at Green Valley before they both moved on to CSN. “I met him there and since then, we’ve been close friends.”

Van Hoosier says he loves having his buddy in the dugout and credits his cool demeanor to his best friend who stands by him every step of the way. He says their relationship has gotten even stronger this year and having Cutler there takes off some of the pressure.

“Having Matt on our team means so much to me and the rest of the guys,” Van Hoosier said. “Whether people believe it or not, Matt has impacted my game immensely. I love hitting and being able to hear Matt cheering in the dugout and if I do get out, he’s always there to cheer me up and make me smile.”

With the draft looming on June 6-8, Van Hoosier expects to hear his name called a little higher this time around, but said he has no problem returning to CSN for another season and hanging out with Cutler if he’s not comfortable with his professional situation.

“My ultimate goal would be to get picked up this year and play professional baseball,” Van Hoosier said. “Obviously professional baseball isn’t for everyone, but I would like to give it a shot. If I do end up making something happen with baseball, I would fly Matt out to wherever I’m playing whenever he wants to watch my games.”

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