07/04/2018 3:25 PM -
Midlothian, Ill. – July 4, 2018 – Two weeks after his departure from the Crestwood Panthers, Cole Blatchford’s teammates and coaches feel his presence on Independence Day.
Over his three weeks with the Panthers, Blatchford batted a team-leading .338 on 22 hits, slugging two home runs and driving in eight runs. He also added six stolen bases in seven attempts, currently fourth on the team. On the mound, even though Blatchford finished with a 0-2 record, he emerged as the team’s closer. He recorded an ERA of 1.227 earning two saves, striking out 12 batters while walking just three.
Entering his sophomore year at the Air Force Academy, Blatchford decided to make the leap from his home in Highlands Ranch, Colo. to spend his three-week summer playing in the Midwest Collegiate League. The hard-hitting third baseman had a very enjoyable experience in the league.
“Over the season it was great to get consistent at-bats for the first time in a while,” Blatchford said. “During my spring season at the [Air Force] Academy, I would just get pinch hits here and there, and I wasn’t able to get into a rhythm. This summer really helped me figure things out offensively for the future.”
With all the improvements he made to his game, Blatchford’s biggest takeaways from his time with the Panthers came off the diamond.
“It was really great to build relationships with my teammates,” Blatchford said. “I enjoyed meeting a whole different group of people. It’s always awesome to make those connections, and, hopefully, I’ll be talking to these guys for the next couple of years.”
His contributions and efforts were certainly not lost on his Panthers teammates and coaches. They knew they were going to miss him as both a player and a person.
“I genuinely feel better and safer knowing that there are young men like Cole protecting our country,” manager Isaac Valdez said. “He’s a great kid, and he’s going to be a great pilot when he graduates. I am very honored and fortunate to have come across his path and be in his path for even just a few weeks.”
Cole returned to the Air Force Academy on June 22nd in order to attend the school’s summer training program. He hopes to be a pilot in the United States Air Force.