EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Eau Claire Express offense has been good all summer-long, but it got even better when Cole Cabrera stepped on the field in burnt orange and black. The Express outfielder is our Osseo Automotive Athlete of the Week. SportScene 13’s Neil Hebert reports.
Cole Cabrera approaches home plate at Carson Park before one of his at-bats.
“Cole is patient,” Express Manager, Dale Varsho, said of his standout centerfielder.
Dale, you can say that again; since arriving in Eau Claire in the middle of June, Cabrera has played in 36 games and walked a whopping 57 times. The Cal Poly sophomore has been on base every single game for the Express, and his on-base percentage is nearly 50 points higher than the 2nd best in the Northwoods league.
“I’m just trying to do my part to get on base for the guys behind me,” Cabrera said. “Just really trying to have fun. Be patient up there, and be aggressive, too: trying to get the hits, trying to get the walks, anyway I can get on base.”
“He’s a person that is all about team, what it takes to get on first base, stealing bases, playing great defense, too,” Varsho said. “Overall, his IQ on the offensive side is unbelievable.”
That IQ is helping not only his own performance, but the guys around him in the lineup as well.
“He’s great off the field. He’s great on the field,” Varsho said. “He tries to teach the younger kids what to do, what to look at, so he’s kind of a coach for us, too.”
“I think I just try to lead by example,” Cabrera said. “Being one of the older guys here, being a junior, lots of the guys coming in are younger guys: freshmen, sophomores, so I’m just trying to teach them what I’ve been taught and my experiences here. It’s just the little tidbits and whatnot, nothing major.”
“Defensively, he’s one of the best outfielders I’ve seen in a long time,” Varsho said. “He takes great routes, he has a good arm, everything is above average, but his route running is unbelievable.”
On the field, Cabrera does everything: he gets on base, steals a lot of bases, and robs opposing hitters of base hits, but off the field, he’s taking in the Wisconsin summer like he should.
“I’ve gone fishing with my host family and some of the guys, catching bass and everything. That’s not really anything we get to experience in Hawaii,” Cabrera said. “I’m definitely soaking in the culture here in the Midwest, that’s for sure.”