Donald Hilverding of Waterford, Ohio, recognized his baseball aspirations at a young age, so he decided to enroll at Steve Swisher’s School of Dreams.
Swisher, father of Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher, operates out of Williamstown, W.Va., just miles from Hilverding’s home.
At the facility, Hilverding, 20, completes drills such as hitting off the tee, soft toss and fielding.
“I went to Steve’s ‘School of Dreams’ because he has gotten multiple players to the college level,” said Hilverding, who started training with Swisher at age 11. “And that was my goal as a little kid.”
In addition to Hilverding’s School of Dreams workouts, he has competed in several leagues/programs including T-ball, coach pitch, little league, pony league, high school, legion and college.
Hilverding, who signed at Ohio Valley University in 2011, attributes much of his baseball success to his mentor, Swisher, a former Major League Baseball player.
And although he was “born a New York Yankees fan,” Hilverding plans to follow the Indians in support of Swisher’s son, who he’s met several times.
When asked what team he’d root for in a matchup between the Indians and the Yankees (who play each other on April 8), he laughingly responded, “The Yankees. But I hope Nick plays well.”
However, Hilverding didn’t seem worried about the transition to Cleveland.
“(Nick) is a very outgoing person,” Hilverding added. “With his leadership skills and big market experience, he will be able to deal with press well and bond with new teammates.”