Xavier De Leon providing spark for WU baseball

Every sports team needs a sparkplug. For a basketball team that might be the point guard. On a football team it may be a quarterback or a receiver. In baseball the spark usually starts at the top of the batting order in the form of the leadoff hitter. Washburn baseball has that fire starter in junior shortstop Xavier De Leon.

“He’s just a guy that’s always dancing and always has a smile on his face,” said freshman Chance Ragsdale. “He’s also just a straight-up good hitter and gets on base for us, so that’s why he’s in the leadoff spot.”

De Leon started playing baseball around the age of three and has loved the game ever since. His favorite part is that it reminds him to laugh, have fun and just enjoy playing the game.

De Leon has gradually moved north during his three years in college to arrive here in Kansas, and more specifically at Washburn. He hails from Austin, Texas, where he attended Stony Point High School. He is the son of Celestino and Heather De Leon and has four siblings. Both of his brothers, Andrew and CJ, and one of his sisters, Lauren, are older than him leaving his other sister, Ariana, as the youngest of five children.

This year is De Leon’s first year at Washburn after spending his first two seasons at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Oklahoma. During his freshman season, he appeared in 47 out of 51 games, hitting .281 with 17 RBI.

As a sophomore, De Leon led the Cougars in runs (50) and hits (64) while sporting a .352 batting average.

After his sophomore season, Washburn started expressing interest in De Leon, so he came on a visit and liked what he experienced.

“I liked the campus, I liked the place, loved the coaches and all the people, so I decided to come here,” De Leon said.

De Leon is a business major with a focus on marketing. He has goals of someday working in advertising for a business.

What he loves about Washburn more than his studies is the family atmosphere among the student body, more specifically the bond between the athletes.

“I like how close everyone is and how we all support each other,” De Leon said. “Soccer supports baseball, football supports baseball and baseball supports everyone else, so I love that aspect.”

De Leon’s life isn’t all about baseball. In addition to his avid video game addiction and hanging out with his friends, he loves to travel and hopes to do more of it once he graduates from college.

He currently has a running bucket list on his phone of things to accomplish someday. Top of the list is seeing LeBron James play in person before he decides to call it a career. Another extensive goal that will take some time is wanting to visit every continent on Earth. Currently, he only has Europe checked off thanks to a trip to Italy.

Baseball has given De Leon a chance to give back to the younger generation and help kids just like himself.

“It doesn’t matter who you are,” De Leon said. “If they [kids] are younger than you they are basically going to look up to you and they are just so excited to have older people helping them.”

Now De Leon is helping to lead the Ichabods as they come off a series victory over the weekend and look to keep that momentum rolling. The men will tackle another weekend series in Hays to face the Fort Hays State Tigers.