PDT Sports Writer
MINFORD — Despite his 5-9 stature, Eli Duduit has bared a heavy load of responsibility on his shoulders.
Entering his fourth year as a starter for the Minford baseball team, Duduit has been a mainstay at the two middle infield spots as well as a force at the plate, no matter where he’s slotted. His versatility is one of the many reasons that drew the attention of several colleges.
But it was the presentation brought by Division III Otterbein University that ultimately hooked the Falcon short stop. This fall, he will dawn the Tan and Cardinal as a third baseman and outfielder.
“Its location, its atmosphere, I liked the coaches immediately when I went there,” Duduit said in an interview with The Daily Times on his choice over Wilmington College, Mt. Vernon Nazarene, Cedarville University and Asbury University. “All the people were friendly to me and they have a pretty consistent program.”
Last year, Duduit was a .301 hitter with six doubles, two triples, 19 runs batted in, 19 runs scored, an on-base percentage of .725 and an .811 fielding percentage as Minford made its second appearance in the district tournament in three years. For Post 23, he batted .391 with four doubles, a triple, 11 RBIs, 15 runs scored, an .878 OBP and struck out just four times in 71 total plate appearances.
As a second baseman during his freshman year, Duduit has been a team player first and has drawn high praise from his high school coach, Tim Martin. The two aspects that Martin has watched Duduit, now a three-year captain, improve upon from his freshman year to this year is his defense and his leadership ability.
“He works his tail off and he’s a great kid,” Martin said. “He’s a great role model.”
When college coaches started to inquire about Duduit, they told Martin they had witnessed similar traits. Unlike his high school days, Duduit will have to work his way up from the junior varsity ranks in order to earn playing time with the big club.
Although he’s played two of the four spots behind the pitcher and is slated to move over one spot in college, Duduit admitted his favorite spot was in front of the pitcher as he caught during his junior high days. Behind catching, he did say the hot corner was his next favorite spot on the diamond.
The Cardinals have a recent track record of personal and team success. They finished last year with a 22-17 mark and are led this year by preseason All-American senior catcher Wes Meadows.
“They don’t recruit nobodys who just want to play,” Duduit said. “
Duduit also felt the demeanor presented by Otterbein head coach George Powell also made things feel more inviting.
“He lets you have fun while you get better,” Duduit said.
When Duduit makes the move to Westerville in the fall, he plans to major in political science and add a communication minor in hopes of eventually going into law school.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.