St. Thomas star plays the right way

February 1, 2008 7:36:57 PM PST
We sit here each night and talk about great athletes. And sometimes we just assume their success is the result of superior talent. But a local athlete reminds us a lot of hard work is the most critical part of the formula.For St. Thomas High School's Colin Bear, the dream began at a very young age.

"I always watched baseball and always went into the front yard, and played around with a Wiffle ball and a bat. I just always had the dream to be a major league player," Bear said.

And despite a lack of size and speed, Colin knew there was a way to overcome those shortcomings -- outwork everybody else.

"We have kids that are 6-3, 190 and they're left-handed and they're good players, but they separate themselves from each other with work ethic," said St. Thomas coach Ken Schulte.

And boy, has Colin worked. From the age of 8, he has played summer select ball. And for the past five years, he has worked with hitting coach Benny Distefano, who played fiver years of major league ball and is currently the Detroit Tigers' minor league hitting instructor.

"Remember, good hitters are consistent. They have a consistent approach, go back to basics," Distefano said.

"He's been given a lot of talent and he's using it the right way to this point," he added.

"Going into my freshman year, I wasn't as good as I thought I was, compared to everyone else," Bear said.

So instead of giving up, Colin continued to work and last season, he became a dominant player for St. Thomas.

"The numbers he put up last year are just unrealistic and phenomenal. Fifty-five RBIs in 31 games. We may not get that (this season), but we expect him to have a really big year," Schulte said.

And this past fall, all the work paid off with a scholarship to Northwestern State in Louisiana.

"He's outside or in a gym every day working out, throwing or hitting every single day and then on top of that, he has to do exercises on his own for pitching and hitting that they give him to do every night. So, it's a seven-day-a-week job for him. But he loves it," said Colin's mother, Shawn.

"He's still working hard. And I think he'll be better this year than last year, and I'm very excited to see what he's got," said his father,Todd.

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