Sophomore catcher Tyler Eppler has not only brought a defensive presence to the American River College baseball team, he has also been a focal point of leadership on a team consisting of mainly freshman. Eppler’s versatile catching style has brought confidence to a young bullpen.
When asked how Eppler has helped improve his game, starting pitcher Jason Fletcher said,“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence, I can throw any pitch at any time and know he is going to receive it well, and block it well if it’s in the dirt.”
The Current: You graduated from Bear Creek as the greater Stockton offensive player of the year and committed to Loyola Marymount University, why didn’t LMU work out?
Eppler: At that time (Bear Creek) hadn’t sent anyone to a D1 program since 2003, so their A through G requirements weren’t up to NCAA standards in 2009. I was about to graduate and Drew Keehn called me and told me that it looked like there was something wrong with my transcripts and they had no idea what it was. We talked with the NCAA and my high school to try and figure it out. I went to Delta my freshman year and in the middle of my season at Delta we found out that my high school hadn’t updated their requirements for the school. In 2010 they finally updated their requirements and they told me that I could fulfill my scholarship to Loyola Marymount, but I couldn’t because I was already playing ball and the offer wasn’t on the table anymore.
How did you end up at American River College?
I didn’t really like the program at Delta, I didn’t feel a fit for me. I was starting there, but it wasn’t my style of baseball. Two former (ARC) players Kevin Finkley and Michael Harris played here and they gave me a good recommendation and (spoke) highly of the school, so I decided to transfer here last year.
Your fielding percentage is perfect, how many hours do you practice a week?
I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent since I was a little kid to finally play in a college baseball game, and to have success. It’s not what you do on the field it’s what you do off the field that gets you the success on the field.
What’s next for you?
I’ll probably transfer to a four-year (university). I’ve been talking to Sac State and Long Beach State but I want to sign to a pro team. I’ve been talking to the Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, and Houston Astros. I don’t know what’s in store for me right now; I’ve got a lot of offers on the table. They’re not offering me scholarships, right now. It’s just a lot of communication and I’m playing it day by day.