Pro baseball player returns to Abilene to help teach kids


ABILENE, Texas - Tyler Hale's resume might say former national champion and Major League Baseball player, but back in his hometown, his goal is to give back to a sporting community that shaped him.

"That's what made me want to do this now," said Hale, who won a championship with the Arizona Wildcats before going on to play professionally with the San Diego Padres. "I hope to get guys out of Abilene and send them off to college, because that's the experience I wouldn't have gotten if someone didn't push me that way."

The Hale Baseball Academy developed from his desire to stay in shape and will to play baseball. Soon enough Tyler wouldn't be doing workouts alone.

"Five grew into 10, 10 grew into 20, and now we're at 140 kids that come weekly. It's pretty special to me I never thought I would be doing something like this," Hale said.

The academy welcomes baseball players from across the Big Country, including familiar faces from Abilene High and Cooper High, and the boys have noticed a change in their skill and technique.

"When I came in here, I wasn't throwing but like 80 [mph] freshman year," said recent Cooper graduate and Texas Tech recruit, Caleb Freeman. "He came in and I'm throwing like 93 now, he helped a lot and helped me with the recruiting process too."

With his experience at the collegiate and professional levels, Hale has the tools to shape great players.

But the bigger picture, Hale says, is to develop good life character.