CHALMERS — Competition is important for Brooks Sailors.
Not necessarily in a “I’m going to play against Division I athletes” sense, but that helped his decision as well.
Sailors signed to play at Purdue-Fort Wayne in early May, shortly after his senior season was wiped out by the current national coronavirus pandemic.
“I was a little bummed out about the season being canceled and all that, but I wasn’t too bummed out in the end because I knew I was going to move on and be able to play,” Sailors said in mid-May. “I felt bad for the other seniors who didn’t get a chance to play again.”
Sailors chose to play for the Mastodons after visiting Fort Wayne, Franklin College, Indiana Tech and Lincoln Trail (Ill.). Franklin College is an NCAA Division III program, Indiana Tech is an NAIA school, and Lincoln Trail is an NCAA junior college. Sailors noted the Mastodons’ roster, which includes two other catchers and a pair of others who are utility players with catching in their background, is what pushed him toward Fort Wayne.
“I have to put in time to better myself so I can get more playing time.” he said. “I really like the competition level, too — as in competing with your own teammates. It’s always up in the air if you’re going to play or not.”
First-year assistant coach Ken Jones, who played catcher at Western Michigan and has a history of it during his coaching career, impressed Sailors when he visited Fort Wayne, as did the team’s facilities and the player housing. Mastodon athletes are housed in apartments, not dormitories.
Sailors was selected All-Midwest Conference first team in 2019 after hitting .421 with 31 hits, 30 runs scored, 21 runs batted in and six extra-base hits. He drew 22 walks and stole 21 bases. He also went 2-2 with one save, a 2.89 earned-run average and 27 strikeouts.
He was also selected first team All-White County as a utility player.
For his three-year varsity career, Sailors hit .326 with 70 hits, 74 runs and 36 RBI. He drew 65 walks and collected 11 extra-base hits.
“It really happened during the (2019-2020) school year, kind of,” he said of his recruitment process. “The summer (of 2019) was part of it because I played travel ball. I think that’s when things started to pick up.”