Donnie Hissa's baseball career began as a week tee-ball player in Iron River, Wis. as a five-year-old. He move on to playing in high school for Northwestern, and finally to Notre Dame where he went to college.
Now as his successful college career ends, he begins another career with the Milwaukee Brewers after getting drafted in the 21st round of the MLB draft as an Right Handed Pitcher. It was an event in Donnie’s life that he was not sure was going to happen.
“Going into the draft no one had any idea what would happen, so it was a feeling of relief to hear the news,” Hissa said. “It has been a dream of mine to play professionally, now its come true."
Hissa and his family have always been long time fans of the Brewers, he grew up watching the games as a kid. His family was just as excited as he was about the news.
“My dad was on the phone for two hours straight talking to people telling them the news,” Hissa said. “My mom was just as happy."
The Notre Dame program is no stranger to sending players to the major leagues, with an extensive list going back years. The Fighting Irish have over 100 alumni with major league experience.
Hissa was much more than an athlete though while attending Notre Dame. He earned a spot on the All-ACC Academic team, which requires over a 3.0 GPA the previous semester, and maintaining it through the year.
“Notre Dame strives to make its players into better people as well as players, putting in the work on and off the field was mandatory. I might have missed out on some things but in the long run it paid off,” said Hissa. “I feel extremely blessed to have been a part of the program.”
A couple weeks after the draft, Hissa was sent to the Helena Brewers, a rookie-level team in the Pioneer League in Montana, where he is likely to will spend the summer. Helena's 76-game season started June 15 and will go until Sept. 5.
“I dreamed about playing baseball for a career, and now I get to. Playing this much this summer is perfect, I wouldn’t want anything else,” Hissa said.
There is a lot that goes into becoming such a great athlete and to reach the professional level, and for Hissa it was easy to explain how he had gotten so far in his athletic career.
"I never slacked off, in my academics or on the field, I always tried to do my best," he said. "Coming back each year I was able to keep getting better, and my role on the team improved."
Hard work, dedication and perseverance is what makes up Hissa game plan to a successful life and career. Where he is more than an incredible athlete, but also an exceptional person all around.