2018 WCIA 3 Baseball Player of the Year: Dalton Hoel

High School Sports

TUSCOLA (WCIA) — Dalton Hoel has one place to get away from it all, the lake.

“You don’t really have an worries or stress at that moment in your life,” Hoel said. “And it’s just really fun to be around a group of your friends just laughing and having a good time.”

Call it a clubhouse for Hoel and his teammates, who enjoy taking their boat out for fishing and more recently, swimming. 

“There was four of us sitting in biology class and one of us said we like to fish, and then everyone chipped in and said the same idea,” said Hoel. “Then all four of us ending up going together to buy a fishing boat.”

That was two years ago. Now Dalton and his brother Dillon are fixing up a pontoon boat they recently bought with hopes of taking it out on the water in the next couple weeks. Unlike his sons, Duff Hoel says he’s never had an interest in boating.

“We spent our summer on the baseball diamond, so no connection whatsoever,” Duff Hoel said.

But Dalton, like his dad, is passionate about baseball, too. He’s also good at it. The senior finished the season with a .471 batting average and accounted for 26 RBIs and 62 stolen bases.

“Smartest player we’ve ever had,” Duff Hoel said. “Knows where to be, what to do, not just for himself but for his teammates as well.”

“The speed helps,” Dalton Hoel said. “He’s always told me my whole life. You can learn to hit a ball. You can learn to field a ground ball, but you can’t learn how to run. You can’t learn how to gain speed throughout your life.”

With his dad as head coach, Dalton helped lead Tuscola to the Class 2A state baseball tournament, where the Warriors eventually took third. It capped off a memorable year for Hoel and the Warriors after finishing runner-up in football.

“We always thought we had good teams, whether it was football or baseball that we could’ve made a deeper run and played in state championship games,” Dalton Hoel said. “So it was kind of rewarding this year especially, to finally get those opportunities to play.” 

“That was our expectation,” Duff Hoel said. “We came close but we didn’t reach the ultimate goal. A great season. Nothing to look back on that was anything adverse at all.”

Duff is stepping down as Tuscola’s head coach, while Dalton will continue his baseball career at Kaskaskia College in Centralia. Sadly, the pontoon boat won’t be joining him at college, but the WCIA 3 baseball player of the year will definitely take it out every chance he gets when he visits home.

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