Tito Fuentes III following baseball path like his grandfather and father

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Tito Fuentes III, left, poses for a photo with his dad and current Crosscutters assistant coach Tito Fuentes Jr.

With a name like Tito Fuentes III, there really wasn’t an option for the Williamsport Crosscutters’ infielder to not play baseball. He tried other sports growing up in the Bay Area of California, but he always came back to baseball.

His grandfather, Tito Fuentes, is the legendary second baseman for the San Francisco Giants who hit .268 in 13 big-league seasons and is now a radio analyst for the Giants. His dad, Tito Jr., is an assistant coach with the Crosscutters, an animated figure in the first-base coach’s box who brings an energy to the team which is unmatched.

Tito III carries the same radiant smile of his dad and his grandfather to Bowman Field every day as he continues to take part in the family business.

“It was always pretty impossible not to play baseball,” Fuentes said following batting practice Friday. “It’s a baseball family.”

He came to Williamsport after playing this spring at Sonoma State University. He was one of the roster additions who joined the Crosscutters following this month’s MLB Draft. He’s become a mainstay in the lineup as the season comes to an end.

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette The Williamsport Crosscutters’ Tito Fuentes III plays during a game at Bowman Field earlier this season.

Fuentes has gotten exactly what he was hoping to get when he signed up to play in the MLB Draft League. He’s been exposed to high level competition. On top of that, he’s developed the mental skills to be able to navigate a professional baseball setting.

On top of that, he’s gotten to the spend the summer with his dad. He’s used to being coached by his dad. It’s something which has happened from his days playing youth baseball all the way through high school.

“It’s the best. It’s a dream,” Fuentes said. “You can’t ask for much more.”

The results haven’t been especially great for Fuentes. He entered Friday’s series-opener against State College hitting just .154 (4 for 26). But he’s been a steady presence the Cutters have been able to rely on for competitive at-bats regardless of the outcome.

The whole process is going to benefit the 21-year old. He understands what it takes to grind away in a professional setting. He better understands how the wear of a season can take a toll on his body physically. And he understands how to push through those issues mentally to make sure he’s ready to play day in and day out.

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette The Williamsport Crosscutters’ Tito Fuentes Jr. pitches to his son Tito Fuentes III during batting practice at Bowman Field earlier this month.

And that’s exactly what he was looking to get out of the experience of playing in the MLB Draft League.

“It’ll make me better knowing how pro ball works and having an expectation for it,” Fuentes said. “I was looking to get more confidence in my game and have a greater feeling for the game moving forward.”

As the season winds down, Fuentes is only going to get more opportunities to play, as well. As players begin to return to their colleges to set up for the fall season, he’ll be a mainstay in the lineup. It’s a challenge he wants and a challenge he’s looking forward to.

“In high school and college, you’re familiar with the game, but once you get here it’s a whole new level,” Fuentes said. “The challenge gives you another hunger that you want to fulfill.”


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