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Wingnuts player knows Wichita State, AAC baseball well

Wichita+Wingnuts+player+Wesley+Phillips++fields+the+ball+during+the+game+against+the+Salina+Stockades.+Phillips+played+baseball+at+Wichita+State+in+2014+before+transferring+to+another+university.+%0A
Wichita Wingnuts player Wesley Phillips  fields the ball during the game against the Salina Stockades. Phillips played baseball at Wichita State in 2014 before transferring to another university.

Wichita Wingnuts player Wesley Phillips fields the ball during the game against the Salina Stockades. Phillips played baseball at Wichita State in 2014 before transferring to another university.

Selena Favela

Selena Favela

Wichita Wingnuts player Wesley Phillips fields the ball during the game against the Salina Stockades. Phillips played baseball at Wichita State in 2014 before transferring to another university.

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Wesley Phillips, an infielder for the Wichita Wingnuts, has had a taste of both Wichita State baseball and playing in the American Athletic Conference.

After graduating from Maize South in 2013, Phillips was on track to play for Iowa Western Community College until Todd Butler was hired as Wichita State’s head coach in June of 2013. Butler showed interest in Phillips, and, when a spot opened up on the roster, he became Butler’s first recruit as head coach.

“[Coach Butler] wanted me to come in, and I thought it was a great opportunity,” Phillips said.

In his one year at Wichita State, Phillips played in 19 games, all at shortstop, and had six starts. He hit .308 with two doubles, four RBI, and two stolen bases.

By his sophomore year, Phillips knew he wanted to transfer schools.

“I didn’t see much improvement for playing time, and I thought staying in Wichita kind of got to me since I’ve been here for 18 years,” Phillips said. “It just didn’t feel right.”

“I wanted to explore more schools.”

Phillips transferred to Cisco College in Texas for one season but ended up at East Carolina University, an AAC school, for his last two collegiate seasons.

“I thought ECU was a good opportunity because they had a new coaching staff and they did really well and were really successful their first year,” Phillips said. “I wanted to go and be with a big group and be on the east coast.”

In his first year at ECU, Phillips helped lead the Pirates to a Super Regional. During his senior season in 2017, Phillips produced 20 hits, including six doubles, while driving in 11 runs.

After seeing the competition The American has to offer first hand, Phillips said he thinks Wichita State’s move to the AAC will be beneficial from a recruiting standpoint.

“[The AAC] is a lot different. For Wichita State to be thrown into the fire pit is good for them,” Phillips said. “It’s going to get them a lot more talent.”

Phillips said The American will give the Shockers exposure to a diverse array of schools unlike The Missouri Valley which lent itself to competition within the Midwest.

“Expanding out like that is good for the program and good for the city to move up to a better conference,” Phillips said. “I think they’re going to do fine. They have good talent and a good coaching staff.”

As a 2017 graduate from East Carolina University, Phillips came back to Wichita after having little talk with professional baseball teams. Phillips did practice with the Wichita Wingnuts but did not hear anything from them for a month.

“I thought baseball was over for me,” Phillips said. “Coach Foltz called me and said ‘Hey we need you. We’re leaving for Texas tomorrow’ and I’ve been playing with them ever since, so I’m really blessed to have this opportunity.”

The Wingnuts ended their regular season on Sep. 4 with a sweep over Stockade. The Wingnuts went 61-38 for the regular season.

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