Men’s softball plater goes international

Junior Ethan Rodriguez grew up playing the game of baseball since he was a little kid.

But it wasn’t until  recently that he made the worthwhile switch to men’s fastpitch softball.

Rodriguez’s dad, Johnny Rodriguez, originally introduced his son to baseball, a sport he played from little league through his sophomore year at Cal High. 

It was then that Rodriguez received a tryout with the USA National Softball team. He went on to start for the team last summer.

“To be able to introduce my son to a sport played by adults in a competitive environment helped him venture out of his comfort zone,” said Johnny Rodriguez, who later introduced his son to softball in 2015.

After playing catcher in baseball, including for the Cal team, Rodriguez moved to the middle infield for softball. He played softball for a couple of years before he got the call to try out for the USA national fastpitch team during the spring of 2018. He attended the local softball tryouts in Stockton and was selected to the team, which comprised teenagers to grown men. 

Rodriguez traveled with his team to four tournaments last summer. In the U.S., Rodriguez went to Houston, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and North Dakota. Outside of the country, he traveled to Canada, where the international championship took place. Rodriguez’s team put in a lot of work and made it to the playoffs, but lost in the first round.

Rodriguez earned MVP from this summer team after competing in multiple tournaments in many different places that took up a lot of his time.

“I had to miss the week before finals to play softball,” said Rodriguez, knowing his practices and hard work would take up most of his time. “The love for the game and the passion for the competition kept me going.”

Not only was softball taking up majority of his time, but being a part of  Cal’s baseball program took more time out of his schedule.

“Ethan only talked about the USA fastpitch if we brought it up to him or asked him about it.,” junior Coleman Reichenbach, a former teammate and Cal baseball player, said. “He is a very humble player and I am proud of his hard work and dedication. I believe what got him on the team was his handwork and drive to play baseball and softball.”

 Being a dual athlete strengthened Ethan in both sports.

“The game of fastpitch has improved his baseball game,” said Johnny Rodriguez, who coached Cal’s freshman baseball team in 2018. “Ethan is a hard worker, very passionate about his performance and wants the best for the people around him.”

Added Chris Hanson, who played with Rodriguez on Cal’s baseball team, “Ethan is an extremely capable player and an overall great teammate to have. He is very competitive. His work ethic and love for softball put him in a position to be the player he is right now.”