Mr. MCINNIS. Mr. Speaker, I have the distinct privilege today to pay tribute to an extraordinary individual who is a regular visitor to my district. Mark Wetzel, a hitting coach from Omaha, Nebraska, travels to Western Colorado several times a year to work with the baseball team at Delta High School. He has done so for the past four years, and the results have been Impressive. The Delta Panthers have raised the team batting average to .424, ranking in the top five In Colorado. Five players are hitting above .500, and confidence is high across the line up.
Although Mark has played an important role in the team's success, he hasn't played the game since the age of 14. Disease forced him to quit playing, and for years Mark thought he didn't have anything to offer. When his son started playing the game, Mark eventually tried to impact his son's performance, and the results were readily apparent. That led to Mark helping the rest of the team, and before long word got out around Omaha about this hitting coach who could help improve performance when other coaches could not. Players he had never met, including some minor leaguers, began seeking out Mark for advice. Soon he was trading hitting philosophies with baseball legend Tony Gwynn and hitting coaches from the San Diego Padres.
What is so unique about Mark as a coach? Players and coaches say he has the ability to see things other coaches miss. One coach says that while he will concentrate on a problem and not find the cause, Mark will look at the end result and Identify what is wrong.
Mark's ability to see things other coaches cannot is not the most unique thing about him, however. Mark is almost completely blind. The disease that caused him to quit playing base• ball as a teenager also took away his vision. Yet he will tell you that losing his sight Is the best thing that ever happened to him, because it taught him how to outwork others, stay positive, and be tenacious. It also has made him an inspiration to others, Including the baseball team at Delta High School. Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to honor Mark Wetzel today by telling his amazing story to this Congress. He is a true asset to the Panthers baseball team, and I congratulate him on his success, commend him for his Inspiring example, and thank him for his contribution to the youth of Delta, Colorado.