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Katy team scores as World Series runner-up

August 2, 2018

Jeff Wilson, owner/founder of the Katy-based Catcher’s University Baseball, combines his love of baseball with an emphasis on the work ethic.

Open in Katy three years in June and recently expanded to Fulshear, the business started with one team and now is pushing eight teams that vary from ages 10 and under to 18 and under.

Those squads include the team of Catcher’s University Baseball 12 and under which ended the season as the 2018 Nations World Series 12U runner-up. Under the direction of team manager Rick Ruff, players ages 11 and 12 are T.K. Rollins, Blake Davila, Tanner Reese, Ty Garrett, Myles Jackson, Jackson Cleveland, Pablo Lazcano Jr., Jose De Jongh, Christian Jaquay, Kaden Reising, O.D. Denner, Charlie Radley, Aaron Brashear and Drew Leuders.

The team played from February through July and ended with an overall season record of 34 wins, 9 losses and two ties. In its first season, CUB 12U produced 258 singles, 73 doubles, 10 triples and 22 homeruns. The team batting average was .373. The team played in the Nations World Series tournament June 26-July 1 at Fort Park in Beaumont and is ranked 7th in Texas out of 112 teams and 9th in the nation out of 325 teams.

In his July 23 “Above and Beyond” Certificate, Katy Mayor Chuck Brawner said the athletic milestone was reached with the assistance of local businesses, coaches, family members and friends.

“These baseball dynamos not only excel on the field, but also dedicate many hours to performing community service and giving back to the Katy area by volunteering for special events benefiting local charities,” said Brawner.

Wilson said, “We provide tools for our boys that many organizations do not. I put together this facility and organization based on work ethics.”

Paying monthly dues, players come to the center to hone skills, become better players and socialize and get to know their peers. “Some players have been with me going on five years and have not missed a week of practice,” added Wilson.

Wilson’s love of baseball dates to high school and college. A torn rotator cuff ended his playing but not his love of baseball. For more than 30 years, he’s worked with catchers and teams.

He initially focused on the position of catcher, which he calls the manager on the field. Many factors go into catching, he said, explaining that’s what started Catcher’s University which he formerly taught from his truck as he traveled throughout Southeast Texas. As his following increased, he said his wife, Heather, supported his move to stop his “real job” and pursue what he’s doing now.

More than catching is involved now as coaches, some with major league and master instruction backgrounds, teach pitching, hitting and other baseball skills to mid-stream players who have an opportunity to grow as athletes and people. Wilson calls Ruff “a well-rounded coach” of about 10 years. The Chicago Cubs fan “lives and breathes baseball,” added Wilson.

The Astros World Series victory also has had an impact. “We’re seeing a rise in the level of kids who say, ‘Maybe baseball is for me,’” said Wilson.

karen.zurawski@chron.com

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