Freshman Feature: Dale Wickham Born to be a Cornell Baseball Player
In a Cornell baseball program that has become increasingly competitive under head coach Bill Walkenbach, the team values winning and breeding true Cornellians. The program found itself a true winner and a player who bleeds Big Red in bringing Dale Wickham aboard in 2015.
“I wanted to come to Cornell my whole life. My whole family went to Cornell. I’ve had a long legacy here, so I’ve been here a lot,” said Wickham. Having had his grandfather, both parents, brother, sister, aunts, uncles and cousins attend the university, Dale would routinely visit the campus on weekends to go to hockey games and to visit his loved ones on the campus that he would eventually call his own.
Wickham’s family has undoubtedly played an influential role in his baseball career and life off the field. Starting from the age of 11, Dale would spend every day of the summer on his family’s farm growing vegetables, being his dad’s right hand man, and eventually learning critical business aspects of the farm, which motivated his decision to major in Applied Economics and Management in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Born and raised in Victor, New York, Dale played a critical role in winning a state title with his hometown Victor High School in 2014. But his journey to the championship started three years earlier. As a freshman in high school, Wickham did not get much playing time for a team that won the 2011 state championship. Wickham recalled that “I had a ring, but I didn’t care… I wanted to win one for myself.”
And win one for himself he did. In 2014, he pitched a complete game in the finals and secured a second state championship in four years for Victor HS. Perhaps even more telling is that the 2014 championship team was not quite as talented as the other teams he was a part of. Wickham was proud to say that “we were the team that was not supposed to do that,” but they rallied at the end of the year to take home the title.
“Dale is a proven winner” says Coach Walkenbach. His versatility truly stood out in the highest level of high school play, as Wickham shined both at the plate and on the mound. Posting a .506 batting average and a 7-0 record with a 0.81 ERA in 2014, Wickham proved that he knew what it took to win when it matters most.
Beyond his accomplishments on the field and his promise as a versatile hitter and up the middle defender at the college level, Wickham is happy to have found a new family in the form of his Cornell baseball teammates. “Cornell has been awesome. It has a great balance, you meet all sorts of people, and we have a great group of guys on the team. The tight bond of the team is what you’ll remember forever.”
When asked about what he loves about playing baseball, Wickham paused, smiled, and responded, “Everything.” It is his passion for the game and simple approach to it that has set this lifelong Cornellian up for success in 2015 and beyond.
Photo Courtesy of Shawn Dowd, Democrat & Chronicle.