DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – When life threw De Pere sophomore Easton Arendt a curveball, he took it as motivation on the mound, and now he’s the one delivering the strikeouts.
As a baseball player, using all ten fingers on your hands is pretty crucial on the diamond. Whether you’re batting or pitching, each one is used for different things. For Arendt, he doesn’t have that ability. He was born with only seven fingers total – five on his right hand and two on his left.
“Early on I would think to myself having this disability, I wouldn’t be able to do the things other people can. Then I got the mindset of working twice as hard as everybody else on the field or in any sport that I’m playing,” said Arendt.
It wasn’t always easy for Easton growing up. He had his fair share of dark days, but it certainly fueled him to prove everyone wrong.
“Early on in my grade school days, there were times that I didn’t fit in with the other guys or classmates that I had but that made me want to work even harder and prove to them that I can do the things that I can do,” Arendt told Local 5.
Easton’s father Jason explained just how hard his son worked and his determination. Whether that was wanting to practice more or learning to tie his shoes by himself, there was definitely something within Easton that made him want to become the man he is today.
While growing up, having only one fully functioning hand didn’t stop Easton. Baseball wasn’t an ‘if’, it was always a ‘must’ for the sophomore.
“To start, I would catch and throw with the same hand. I would catch and take my glove off and throw it. All with my right hand,” said Arendt.
As Easton started his varsity baseball journey this season, he reached out to a glove company that did something special for him.
“This past year, I got a glove from Marucci that had a custom inside to exactly fit my left hand,” said Easton. “It’s taken a little bit to get used to, but I’m getting there.”
Easton’s mentality of always pushing forward and trying to be the best version of himself every day has helped him on the baseball diamond. On May 11, Arendt came in to finish off a no-hitter for De Pere.
Just a few short days later on May 13, he pitched a complete game for the Red Birds while striking out 12 batters to pick up the team’s 14th win of the season.
Easton’s story has inspired those close to him – especially his head baseball coach.
“You say you can’t do math — this kid is playing at a high level as a sophomore on a really good baseball program and he only has one hand that’s functional. So it’s a pretty cool story and I’m going to use that moving forward in the classroom,” said Bob Van Rens.
No matter what, at the end of the day, Easton just wants his story through life and sports to help motivate others.
“I used to view it as a disability, but now that I’m at this level, I use it as just a hand. I want to make kids that may have the same effect or something a little bit different to know that they can succeed,” Easton said.