A year ago Gary Apelian played right field for the Dons. Last June, the St. Louis Cardinals picked him in the 27th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
“It has always been my dream,” Apelian said. “Now I just need to work my way up through the minors. I had a good first season.”
In 55 games for the Johnson City Cardinals, the St. Louis rookie affiliate, Apelian hit .298 in 225 at bats, with eight home runs and 45 RBIs.
Apelian is preparing for a second season of professional baseball and reported to minor league camp March 7. He watched the Dons March 6 against the OCC Pirates. Apelian has transitioned to the next level well.
“The pitchers throw harder and have better stuff but besides that it is still baseball,” Apelian said.
The days are long and the nights may be lonely, but Apelian enjoys every minute of it.
“Last year, I was at the field from about two until ten. I wouldn’t really call it a job because I love doing it,” Apelian said.
Preparation, a short memory and a good attitude are some of the things Apelian credits for his success.
“If you have a bad day you still have to keep your mental focus. Tomorrow is another day and a new game. Focus on staying positive and keep consistent,”
Apelian’s approach to the game is the same as when he patrolled the right field for the Dons.