The late Don Zimmer once said, “What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle and giving 110 percent all the time.”
Those are three traits veteran Bowling Green State University baseball coach Danny Schmitz loves in his players. And if one of his players shows those qualities, more times than not, they'll be rewarded for it with time on the field.
That's something 2013 Port Clinton graduate Addison Rospert is hoping to see more of after playing in 10 games and making four starts in the outfield as a freshman.
“Those abilities are right in my wheelhouse,” Rospert said after helping the Lorain County Ironmen to a 3-0 victory over Richmond at the Pipe Yard on July 11. “He's been real good to me and I love playing for coach Schmitz. He loves guys that hustle, and he wants his players to show him what they can do, rather than tell him they can do this or that.”
Patience has been another virtue Rospert has had to learn. A two-sport — baseball and football — star in high school for the Redskins, he had to get used to the fact that he wasn't the big fish in a small pond anymore.
His family was a help in the transition. Rospert's father, Jeff, played baseball at Kent State from 1985-1988.
Rospert won a state Junior Legion championship after his sophomore season and was a first-team All-Sandusky Bay Conference and All-District selection as a junior and senior at Port Clinton.
“Nothing is a given at this level, but I definitely expect to see more time this next spring,” Rospert said. “I just have to work hard everyday. Hopefully, that'll equal more time in the outfield. This year was more about adjusting to this level of baseball and learning the college life.”
Rospert didn't make his collegiate debut for the Falcons until a March 1 game at Georgia Tech. His first career hit was a double in a two-hit game against Bucknell on March 14. He finished the season hitting .278, ripping two doubles, scoring five runs and finishing perfect in the field with six putouts.
A year after taking everyone by surprise in winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament title, despite being five games below .500 and having a losing mark in the league, the Falcons struggled to a 25-27 record in 2014 and lasted only two games at May's MAC Tournament played in Avon.
“We battled back towards the end of the year to get to .500 and I thought we had a good year,” Rospert said. “We had a lot of seniors that led us, though, so this year we'll have to have a lot of younger guys step up.
“Going into the year as MAC champs, we definitely had targets on our backs,” he added. “We came into the season thinking we would do really well, but it's baseball and anything can happen.”
Rospert is one of 21 Ohio collegiate players who have made Northeast Ohio their home this summer. The Ironmen compete in the Prospect League, a wooden bat summer league, which boasts teams from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
In 19 games played for Lorain County, the BGSU sophomore has struggled to a .192 batting average that includes 10 hits, a double and four RBIs.
“It's an everyday thing right now,” Rospert said. “So sometimes it gets long, but you just got to get through it. We're having fun, though, which is what this league is all about. I think our team chemistry is great. Right now we're just focused on having fun and winning.”
But this summer isn't all about the hitting for Rospert.
“Coach (Schmitz) wants me to get more reps in the outfield,” Rospert said. “At BG, we work a lot with the backside in right field. He just told me to go out and play, have fun and get as much work in as I could.”
Rospert finished 1 for 3 against Richmond in the July 11 game. His lone hit was a sharply-hit single over the glove of the Richmond shortstop in the fifth inning.
He later shattered his bat into three pieces on a groundout.
“I felt like I barreled that one up pretty good,” Rospert joked. “But things happen. It's a lot different hitting with wood, you got to adjust to it.”
Luckily for Lorain County, versatility is Rospert's strong suit.