By STEVE KRAH
Baseball has been kind to a young man from Salem, Ind.
It’s given him moments of joy and relationships and helped him earn a college degree.
Xavier Haendiges (pronounced X-avier Hen-dig-us) says he will keep the game in his life even though his playing days are behind him.
“It’s been fun,” says Haendiges, a 2019 Salem High School graduate who redshirted one year, played three seasons at Ohio University and earned a Business Analytics and Marketing degree with a sales certificate this spring. “I met a lot of people I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.
“Being able to play the game of baseball and compete everyday has been awesome.”
Haendiges has one year of eligibility left, but has opted to move on.
“I don’t think my arm could handle playing another season,” says Haendiges, who has also dealt with an ailing back.
A righty-swinging middle infielder, he started in 30 of the 31 games he appeared in for the 2022 OU Bobcats. The 6-foot, 170-pounder hit .299 (26-of-81) with one triple, five doubles, six runs batted in and 20 runs scored. In three years, he played in 47 games and hit .252 (31-of-123).
Haendiges, who turned 22 on June 15, plans to move to Cincinnati in a few weeks and begin a job as a remote account executive with InSight — an IT solutions company.
“Being in marketing and sales keeps me in that competitive mindset,” says Haendiges. “I have to compete for customers and against other salesmen.
“I want to be able to challenge myself everyday.”
He’s recently taken to golf to help scratch his competitive itch.
Growing up in Salem, Haendiges played in the local youth league then began travel ball around 11 with the Indiana Bulls.
“It’s a great organization,” says Haendiges. “I’ve had so many opportunities.
“It’s led me through so many doors.”
With the Salem High Lions, Haendiges played for head coach Brett Miller.
“To be a coach you have to have a good personality and love the game,” says Haendiges. “He was a great mentor and a great coach.”
Haendiges also played point guard for the Salem basketball team.
Xavier is the youngest of Ron and Pam Haendiges’ two sons. Trey Haendiges is 10 years older than Xavier and runs Haendiges Insurance Solutions in Salem and recently made his brother into an uncle and his parents into grandparents.
Trey’s affection for the Boston Red Sox has rubbed off on his little brother.
“I follow the Red Sox heavily,” says Haendiges. “I’ve been watching the College Word Series. When I move to Cincinnati, I plan to catch some Reds games as well.”
Ron Haendiges works at State Farm Insurance in Salem. Pam Haendiges is a former first grade teacher at Bradie Shrum Elementary — the same school that Xavier attended.