Few things in baseball are as coveted as quality left-handed pitchers.
Iowa Wesleyan College is no exception, which is why the Tigers came all the way to Colorado looking for Christian Vigil, and the recent Durango High School graduate was all too happy to fill their need.
Vigil recently agreed to join IWC for its first year as a NCAA Division III member after transitioning from NAIA athletics, heading from Durango to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in the southeastern part of the state.
The southpaw was looking for not only a home on the field but also the right fit in the classroom. He thought he had such a fit at Dickinson State in North Dakota before interest from the coaching staff waned.
Fortunately for Vigil, it was around that time that first-year head coach and Colorado Springs native Derek Zander came calling.
“I decided to look for a better option, so I decided to look at which school was a four-year school so I could stay for awhile, and then I found Iowa Wesleyan. ... They reached out to me, and we’ve been trading emails, trading text messages, building a relationship with them,” Vigil said. “So I just decided to go with that.”
Getting noticed, however, wasn’t easy. Vigil compiled a 7.00 earned run average while throwing just 10 innings in what became an increasingly crowded pitching staff at Durango High School. But he had a strong summer showing traveling around the west with summer-league squad Naa’taanii out of New Mexico and attended camps to get his name out there.
“Then my junior and senior year, I didn’t really pitch that much – bottom of the rotation a lot,” Vigil said. “So I had to go to several camps and create the videos on my own just because I wasn’t getting that game-time experience.
“I (was) more primarily a pitcher (with Naa’taanii), so I’d get more innings, more time on the mound.”
For Louis Vigil, Christian’s father, the most impressive part of Iowa Wesleyan’s pitch was the fact they seemed more balanced when it came to selling athletics and academics than some of his son’s other suitors, which included other NAIA schools as well as some DII programs, he said.
“Most of the coaches were about baseball and how hard it was going to be and how he had to prepare. Coach Zander was about academics,” Louis Vigil said.
“If he misses a class, his assistant coaches are getting him up at 4 in the morning and running, no matter what the weather’s like. And we like that. We like the discipline he’s going to bring for academics.”
Still, having their oldest son so far away will be an adjustment for Louis and Kris Vigil.
“We’ve got to let him go and enjoy his life and have a good time,” she said.