Shuler off to solid start with Triggers

"Living the dream" has, quite obviously, become overused in today's lexicon of popular phrases; to the point, even, of cliche.

Every now and then, however, it is the only appropriate phrase to describe a person's fate -- one such individual being former Apollo High School baseball standout Jakob Shuler.

After two years at Wabash Valley (Ill.) College and a brief stop at Brescia University, Shuler signed professionally with the independent Trinidad (Colorado) Triggers of the Pecos League.

In short, Shuler is doing what he loves to do, and getting paid for it -- and that, of course, was the dream all along.

"This is what I always wanted to do, be a professional baseball player," Shuler said. "I wake up, go to the field, and stay at the field until 10 o'clock at night -- hey, I love it.

"The pay is not great and there's a lot of miles to travel for road games, but I'm able to get by -- at the end of the day, I love doing what I'm doing."

And he is doing it well.

In his first seven games with the Triggers, Shuler is hitting .333 with a double and two RBIs as a part-time starting catcher.

"I've been hitting the ball well, seeing it well," said Shuler, who is attempting to play through a mitt-hand injury he suffered Tuesday night when a backswing nailed his left hand. "If you get it up in the air out here it's going to go because of the high elevation."

An elevation -- 6,021 feet above sea level -- that took some getting used to for Shuler.

"It's different, that's for sure," he said. "It takes a while to get adjusted to it, but once you do you're all right. At first, I would just throw the ball a couple of times and be out of breath, but I'm all right with it now."

A 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, Shuler was twice selected as Messenger-Inquirer Area Player of the Year while at Apollo. For two summers, he played in the Ohio Valley League with the Owensboro Oilers and Owensboro RiverDawgs, helping the latter win the OVL championship in 2018.

Shuler, who bats left and throws right, appreciates the opportunity to play professionally, and hopes to move up the ranks.

"At 21, I'm the youngest American on our team," Shuler said. "There are guys 27, 28, 29 out here. They've been around. They have their own dreams, and you try to learn, pick up what you can from their experiences.

"I want to move up in independent baseball, and, of course, I'd love to play with a (MLB) affiliated franchise. Also, it would be good if I could get closer to home, to like Florence (Ky.) or Evansville (Ind.), two other independent teams pretty close to Owensboro."

For now, though, Shuler is content doing what he loves to do.

"This is a great opportunity and I plan to work hard and make the most of it," he said. "I'm getting paid to play baseball, I love our team, and I'm looking forward to a great summer."

While, indeed, living the dream.

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