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Spring 2004 - Baseball

Destination Purdue > Spring 2004 - Baseball

Baseball player balances both sport and agriculture

By Jason Parsons

It takes work to change one's habits, but that is exactly what one Purdue University baseball player did when he came to campus last fall.

Mitch Hilligoss

Photo provided by Purdue Sports Information Department

Mitch Hilligoss, freshman in agricultural communication

Freshman Mitch Hilligoss came to Purdue as a four-year letter winner out of Windsor High School in Windsor, Ill., but when he got to Purdue, he learned to play shortstop and outfield after playing second base all through high school.

His coach thinks that the transformation was possible because Hilligoss is a hard worker. "Mitch definitely exemplifies that," said coach Doug Schreiber. "He has definitely put in a lot of time. He's a blue-collar type player that has some aggressiveness to him."

Working hard for long periods of time is nothing new for Hilligoss, who lives on a crop farm in Illinois. He acknowledges that he's learned a great deal from being a farmer. "I learned about work ethic, which helps me in baseball too," Hilligoss said. "You get out, you work." Through all of his hard work, Schreiber thinks that Hilligoss has a positive impact on the team.

"He's progressed very well," Schreiber said. "I think he's made as much improvement as anybody we've had. You see him on the field, and you wouldn't think that he's a freshman because he's got some aggressiveness around the plate and on the field."

With his baseball and his farm background, the left-handed hitter, who plays shortstop and outfield for the Boilermakers, is majoring in agricultural communication and came to Purdue for the combination of baseball and agriculture. "I chose Purdue because of its great agricultural background," he said. "Baseball and being close to home were other reasons."

Being close to home means being close to his parents, both of whom have had a big impact on the 6-foot-1, 175 pound utility infielder. "My mom and dad have had the biggest influence on my life," Hilligoss said. "My dad was the one to push me and expected me to do better. My mom was always the peacemaker."