By Dennis Garcia
The decision whether to return to the University of Wilmington for another season of college baseball or turn professional is something Cole Weiss has had to make on more than one occasion.
After being drafted in the 37th round of the 2019 Major League Baseball draft by the San Francisco Giants, Weiss decided to return to school for his senior season in hopes of helping his team reach the goal of advancing to a Super Regional as well as improving his stock for this year's draft.
But the coronavirus pandemic that cut short this year's collegiate baseball season left Weiss with another decision to make concerning his baseball future. Should he return for his "second" senior season after the NCAA ruled to give spring sports athletes an extra year of eligibility?
"It's just what we have been building and working toward the past three or four years," said Weiss, a 6-4, 208-pound infielder from Winston-Salem and Mt. Tabor High School. "We want to break the wall down and get to the Super Regional. And then get to Omaha and the College World Series. I thought this year we had the team to do it."
The Seahawks were 11-5 when the season was shut down and Weiss said the decision to come back this time wasn't difficult.
"We built a culture there and once we figure out who is coming back … There are some mixed opinions (from the seniors)," Weiss said. "Some have jobs already lined up. We'll have to see who is coming back."
The first time Weiss decided to return to the Seahawks wasn't a difficult decision either, he said.
After a junior season in which he started all 63 games, was second on the team with a .305 average and drove in 49 runs with 13 doubles, four triples and four home runs, he was drafted in the 37th round by the Giants. He was first-team All-CAA, second-team ABCA All-East, second-team All-State, a CAA All-Tournament performer and the winner of the Brooks/Scalf Coaches Award. Plenty of accolades, but he said there was still plenty of work to do.
"For me, it was a decision I felt was best for me, to have another year to get stronger, get faster, get better," Weiss said of returning to UNCW. "It was a pretty easy decision to come back to Wilmington where the culture we built is second to none. The best thing for me was to go back."
In 16 games this season, he finished with a .305 batting average with two home runs and five multi-hit games.
Then the pandemic hit.
"It's definitely been a crazy time," said Weiss, who is home with his family, working out and staying in shape for the Coastal Plain League season. "It's been nice to come home and spend some time with the family. That's something you normally can't do. You have a lot of free time right now."
Weiss had quite a successful sophomore year at UNCW, being named second-team All-CAA and earning the CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award. He started all 62 games for the Seahawks, recording 16 multi-hit games, including four when he recorded three hits. He had a two-homer game against William & Mary in April and led the Seahawks with a .417 (15-36) batting average in the postseason, fielding 33 chances flawlessly over those nine games.
As a freshman, he started 16 games and played in 33.
"I just want to continue what I have been doing, making sure I am comfortable in the box," Weiss said about this summer. "I missed 200 at-bats. Just want to prepare for next year and make sure I am ready."