PORT ANGELES — Cut from the baseball program as a freshman, sidelined by the pandemic as a junior and injured for a good chunk of his senior season this spring with Port Angeles High School, Landon Seibel’s career is a lesson in overcoming adversity.
Seibel has been knocking home runs and blasting extra-base hits as cleanup hitter for a Wilder Senior squad that began The American Legion AAA State Tournament Monday in Kennewick.
And he has signed a letter of intent to play baseball for Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids, Minn., about 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis.
Seibel said his size, or lack thereof, was the issue as a freshman.
“I knew I was really small and scrawny,” Seibel said. “I knew that, but it motivated me to work harder and get bigger [through weight training]. It just took time to mature and grow into my frame.”
His Wilder Senior manager, Zac Moore, himself a new father this summer, had a heartfelt piece of praise for Seibel.
“He’s a very complete hitter and plays a lockdown third base for us,” Moore said. “Landon is one of the more vocal leaders on the team, and he shows up early and leaves late. He’s the kind of kid that when you raise kids, you hope your kids turn out like him.”
Port Angeles head coach and Wilder assistant Casey Dietz has been impressed with Seibel’s offensive prowess.
“He’s somebody who is a very good offensive player and confident in his ability to hit the baseball and create consistent, hard contact,” Dietz said. “He very rarely gives away at-bats, and when he puts the bat on the ball squarely, he can hit some shots.”
Seibel has four homers this summer, tops for Wilder.
“I’ve been able to get a lot of torque from my upper half to lower half and the separation to have that torque,” Seibel said. “So I’ve added more separation and velocity to my bat, and once I broke my thumb, I couldn’t wait to get back out there.”
Seibel injured himself sliding back to the first base bag in an early-season high school contest against Olympic High School.
He’s also a pitcher for Wilder and may be called on to fill some innings at Anoka-Ramsey.
“Working on my reaction time at third base is important, continue swinging the bat and building that up and getting more velocity pitching,” Seibel said when asked what he plans to work on before heading east.
Technology played a role in receiving the chance to continue playing baseball with Seibel using a sports social networking app to search for schools.
“I had this FieldLevel app on my phone, they followed me on it, and they gave me a call. That kicked it off,” Seibel said.
He visited the campus and liked what he saw, particularly the school’s investment in indoor facilities for the long, harsh Minnesota winters.
“They have a gym that turns into an infield for ground balls, a different gym on the other side with batting cages, an indoor track on the second level and a nice weight room,” Seibel said.
Anoka-Ramsey also is near the National Sports Center, the largest amateur sports facility in the world.
“We get to play at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis,” Seibel said. That’s the home of the Minnesota Vikings NFL team, but it also has a baseball configuration.
Seibel had hopes of playing closer to home before the pandemic, but with extra years of eligibility offered to current college players, rosters are jammed.
“That really impacted it. I was hoping to get into a college in Washington, but all the rosters are up to 40 or 50 players with everybody coming back,” Seibel said. “I had to choose a school in Washington where I would get less playing time and out of state, where I’ll be starting there as a third baseman with a roster of about 25-30 kids and play about 50 or 60 games a season.”
“I’m happy with where I am and I know God has a plan.”
Seibel thanked his folks and former coaches for their assistance in getting to this point.
“I have to thank my parents Jason Seibel and April Seibel,” Seibel said. “They pushed me and supported me financially. Zac Moore pushed me physically, he knows I can do more than what I think I can, and I can’t thank him enough for that. And my friends and family.”