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Wildcat of the Week: Senior Baseball Edition #1

This+week%27s+Wildcat%27s+of+the+week+participate+in+the+%22two+ball+drill%22+on+a+rainy+day+in+Chico.+Photo+credit%3A+Justin+Couchot
This week's Wildcat's of the week participate in the

This week's Wildcat's of the week participate in the "two ball drill" on a rainy day in Chico. Photo credit: Justin Couchot

This week's Wildcat's of the week participate in the "two ball drill" on a rainy day in Chico. Photo credit: Justin Couchot

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The Chico State baseball team brings in some of the top players from the state of California and these past four years were no different. This year’s senior class has a mix of players who came to Chico straight from high school, transfers who came for two years, as well as a transfer who came solely for his senior season. This Wildcat baseball team has 12 seniors, and this week we feature six of them prior to senior day April 22 against Dominguez Hills.

1. Casey Costello

 

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Photo credit: Kate Angeles

Q: Last year you set the Chico State single season mark of 12-0. How were you able to have such a successful season on the mound?

 

“Right when I came in to Chico, I was a transfer. We started working really hard in the fall. A lot of preparation (morning weights) and I had a great defense behind me, so I was pretty much just having fun on the mound and letting my defense work for me.”

 

Q: How many pitches do you currently throw, and what has been working well for you lately?

“Currently I throw four different pitches. I throw a fastball, curveball, slider and a changeup. I would say my slider is probably my best ‘out’ pitch. They call it your “out pitch” because that is your go to to get people out. I just added that pitch last year and I think its gave me the most success. The fastball is always good to set people up and set the tone though.”

2. Dan Beavers

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Photo credit: Kate Angeles

Q: Do you have any routines or rituals that you go through before each game?

Yeah, I definitely think routines or rituals are a big part of any baseball player’s preparation for a game. Myself personally I like to have fun out there. Some guys are really serious before they go into play. I like to dance, I like to sing. I’ve been known to have a pregame dance that I like to do to just kind of get the nerves off. As a competitor you might get nervous, but it’s good as a ballplayer to kind of slow things down and just have fun with it, because that’s when you play your best.

 

Q; What is the most challenging aspect of being a relief pitcher?

Being a relief pitcher has its fun aspects and its not so fun aspects. Sitting around in the bullpen or in the dugout for seven or eight innings, it is difficult to go around from sitting around to boom all of the sudden you got to be ready to go. But I will tell you it’s worth it in the long run. When you come in there with the game on the line there’s a lot of pressure, but as a competitor it fires you up to get it done for the team. The coaches, your teammates, the guys behind you are really depending on you to come in and get a job done. Being a relief pitcher, there’s nothing more exciting on a baseball field than coming in and closing the door when your team needs you.

3. Jae Wagner

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Photo credit: Kate Angeles

 

Q: You led last year’s pitching staff with a 0.44 ERA and you are now currently leading this year’s with a 0.40 ERA. How do you keep the other team off the board so well?

I just try to take it one appearance at a time. I never really try and think too much ahead of it. Even just one pitch at a time really. I trust in Coach T’s game plan, what he calls for pitches. I’ve never really shaken him off ever, and I know that every pitch he calls has a purpose. I trust that he is going to make the right call for me, and then I just do my best to execute that pitch.

 

Q: You have a sidearm delivery, but it has clearly worked well for you. When did you start pitching that way?

 

I first started dropping side arm my freshmen year in college. I had a little bit of a rough fall, and my coaches came up to me and said “hey how would you feel about dropping down?” I was totally for it and gave it a shot. It felt great, it felt more natural for me, and I saw results almost right away, so I just stuck with it.

 

4. Cameron Santos

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santos Photo credit: Kate Angeles

 

Q: You are one of the few seniors to have played for Chico State as a true freshman. What is the biggest change you’ve made to your game during those four years?

“The biggest change that I think I’ve made is just coming in comfortably with the program and the way that Coach T runs everything. Coming in as true freshman, which not a lot of our teammates actually are, you kind of learn a lot in those four years…It kind of just builds year in and year out. It’s obviously nice being a four-year senior because I know how the program works, but it also comes with a lot in teaching the new JC transfers and the incoming freshmen as well.”

 

Q: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your baseball career?

“Last year I was actually diagnosed with type one diabetes. This happened late in the fall, so I kind of had to change a lot of things lifestyle wise and baseball wise that ultimately actually kind of helped me. It was good that it was caught at the time it was caught. It made me stronger as an individual and also brought our team a lot closer last year. A lot of guys got behind me and it really helped my career in the long run.”

5. RJ Hassey

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Photo credit: Kate Angeles

 

Q: You currently lead the CCAA with a .514 on base percentage. What adjustments have you made at the plate to help you get on base so consistently?

“I think that goes back to the Chico State mentality and what Coach Taylor preaches on a daily basis. It’s just refusing to get out, having a two-strike adjustment and getting on the plate and fouling off good pitches. Hopefully work a good AB. All of that goes back to getting on base for my team.”

Q: How long have you been playing the catcher position for and when did you first develop a passion for it?

“I’ve been playing the catcher position for as long as I can remember. A lot of guys that are playing nowadays maybe develop in high school or maybe first year in college, but I’ve been playing catcher since I started playing baseball. I’ve kind of learned to love it and take pride in it since then.”

6. Kyle Blakeman

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Photo credit: Kate Angeles

 

Q: You recently transferred from San Jose State to Chico this year. What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed between the two teams?

“I transferred from San Jose State to Chico State because of the winning tradition here and being able to go there every day and compete for winning a title.”

 

Q: You recently hit a game winning grand slam against Cal State Los Angeles. How did it feel to help the team out in such a big way?

“It felt really good. It has been a long time since I’ve done anything that cool. The big hit against Cal State LA helped us win and it was a great moment for myself and the team. I hope we can bring that energy this week against UCSD.”

 

Austin Schreiber can be reached at [email protected] or @aschreiber94 on Twitter.

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Wildcat of the Week: Senior Baseball Edition #1