Baseball was not always Ben McElroy’s first love.
“There were times when baseball was my third favorite sport behind football and basketball,” McElroy, junior outfielder, said. “I would even want to quit sometimes in seventh and eighth grade, but my dad would always encourage me to stick with it and tell me that I really had a future in baseball.”
Before his senior season in high school, McElroy decided he wanted to focus on baseball to impress coaches in the hopes of playing at a university.
“I really didn’t get any offers for basketball or football to play at the college level,” McElroy said. “I really didn’t think I had what it took.”
McElroy was set to enroll at the University of Texas as only a student, not an athlete, when he put together a “solid” high school senior season that caught the eyes of the Bobcat coaching staff.
“About April my senior year I was all set up to be a student at Texas,” McElroy said. “I was rooming with my best friend and we had a dorm set up and everything, and I was lucky enough to put together a solid senior year.”
McElroy batted .446, with seven home runs, 39 runs batted in and 17 doubles, earning him First Team All-District honors at the end of his senior season. The Highland Park native received a call and was asked to come to Texas State and meet the coaching staff.
“After I went on my visit, the coaches were much cooler and nicer,” McElroy said. “They were really friendly and welcoming versus the other schools I visited, and I knew it was a good place to play.”
Coach Ty Harrington has seen McElroy grow as both a player and a student during his tenure with the Bobcats.
“Ben is a good athlete,” Harrington said. “If you go back and look at the history of who he is, he was a football and baseball player in high school. He loves the big moment and doesn’t shy away from that, and that is what differentiates between an average player and a great one.”
McElroy immediately received playing time after accepting his offer to play baseball for Texas State. He started 23 games while making the jump from his freshman to sophomore year.
“His maturity developed well,” said Assistant Coach Mike Silva. “He had been through the trials and tribulations of practices and games at the college level. He knows how to handle failure now more than ever.
Most players when they are developing try to become something they are not and accepting your style is key.”
McElroy developed from a .229 batting average and a .323 base percentage his freshman season to .306 and .403 average, respectively.
“He’s a gap-to-gap hitter,” Silva said. “I expect him to be consistent working on things he needs to work on. Also, with some leadership qualities I expect him to help out with some of the younger guys.”
Coaches have high expectations that McElroy will develop into a key contributor with a strong schedule ahead this season.
“Going into his third year it’s that time in life where he needs to be a major contributor,” Harrington said. “He needs to be a leader and not follow like some younger players, and he’s beginning to do that.”