ODESSA, TX (KWES) - In high school, Evan Gattis was a top prospect across the country, and he committed to play baseball at Texas A&M but never made it to College Station. The fear of failure led Gattis to struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, so instead of enrolling at A&M, he enrolled in a rehab facility.
After treatment, he continued chasing his baseball dreams at Seminole State, a junior college in Oklahoma, where he was sidelined by injury and called it quits after falling into depression.
After that, Gattis went on a journey in pursuit of happiness, spending time all across the country and far away from baseball.
Meanwhile, his step-brother Drew Kendrick found success on U.T.P.B.'s diamond and Kendrick's coach was aware of the talent that was wandering around the map.
"I said if he ever calls you and says he wanted to play, make sure you let me know because we'd love to have him," said Brian Reinke, U.T.P.B. Baseball Coach.
In Spring of 2009, Gattis made that call and became a Falcon.
"Once he got here, he became the center. It took him about two weeks to just be basically everything towards everyone," said Reinke.
It was quickly obvious to Reinke that he not only had big league talent, he had the character to back it up.
"Did not matter what time practice ended, he'd be lugging tires. Doing whatever he could do because he knew it was his chance. He thought this was just a place to play for 2 years. I knew if we put him in front of the right people, he was going to be here a very short period of time," said Coach Reinke.
Reinke gave him the exposure he needed, and during the 2010 draft, the Atlanta Braves selected Gattis in the 23rd round.
"I'd tell these guys I said he got a guy. They asked if there was gonna be another Evan Gattis and I'm like there's not gonna be another Evan Gattis," said Reinke.
If you're looking for someone to root for in the World Series, Reinke thinks Evan Gattis is your guy.
"I think easily, I mean he's the every man right there," said Reinke.