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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Wildcat of the Week: Senior Baseball Edition #2

Chico State baseball shortstop Casey Henderson is one of two Wildcats to start in every game this season as of April 22. Photo credit: Martin Chang

The Chico State baseball team has done extremely well the past couple years and a lot of that success is due its senior players. The Wildcats are fortunate enough to have 12 seniors on the team this year and this week we will feature the final six in honor of senior day. To check out the first six players featured two weeks ago, check out the video here.

1. Casey Henderson (shortstop)

Casey Henderson has been a staple for the Wildcats over the last two seasons starting all but four while accumulating a .949 combined fielding percentage over the two seasons. Photo credit: Kate Angeles

Q: What is your favorite memory coming out of Chico?

“My favorite memory coming out of Chico is winning the conference title and then dog piling with my teammates after winning the conference tournament in Stockton. It was an awesome experience.”

Q: What is your favorite part about playing the shortstop position?

“My favorite part about playing the shortstop position is all the action I get. (I like) constantly having to be mentally ready for every play and I also enjoy being the captain of the infield.”

2. Brian Pozos (infield and outfield)

Brian Pozos has turned into a utility man for the Wildcats after the shortstop and second baseman transitioned to outfield and has gone 11 straight games without an error. Photo credit: Kate Angeles

Q: You had a bit of a slow start at the beginning of the season but you’ve really picked up the pace in the past month and are now hitting .317. What do you attribute your success to?

“I would attribute my success to perfecting my mechanics day in and day out. You try to get your best swing off and try and produce that perfect swing. Getting into games and doing it in games is all about getting your best swing on the right pitches. Other than that, it’s just patience and making constant adjustments.”

Q: Who has been your biggest influence when it comes to baseball?

“I would say that it’s not just one person. I think you come across coaches and teammates that affect you negatively and positively and they kind of affect your perceptions about the game. There are people who tell you your potential and there are people who show you your potential and allow you to believe in yourself. So I would say the teammates and coaches I’ve comes across in this game are my biggest influence.”

3. Trevor Steinman (infield)

Trevor Steinman, a transfer from Santa Ana College, has one career home run as a Wildcat: a grand slam on April 1, 2017 against Cal State San Marcos. Photo credit: Kate Angeles

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

“My routine starts way before the game. I like to get a big meal before to make sure I have a lot of energy going into the game. As far as rituals, I put on my left cleat before my right cleat. After and at bat, I put my batting gloves in my right pocket and never my left.”

Q: Who is your favorite baseball player and why?

“Throughout my life, I’ve always had many favorite baseball players. I remember growing up watching Chipper Jones with the Braves and Barry Bonds getting the home run record. But as of right now, I would say Justin Turner of the Dodgers because I’m from Southern California and I’ve always been a fan of the Dodgers.”

4. Hilario Tovar (starting pitcher)

Hilario Tovar, a Division I transfer from San Jose State, is looking to finish his Chico State career strong after winning his last four starts. Photo credit: Kate Angeles

Q: You recently transferred from San Jose State. Why did you choose to come to Chico and what have you liked most about your experience here?

“I chose to come to Chico State because while considering schools to continue my baseball career, I wanted to attend somwhere that was best suitable for me both acadmically and athletically. I felt that Chico State was one of those better options. My best experience here at Chico is getting to meet a brand new group of guys on the baseball field that have my back while at the same time I’ll have their back and ultimately just having fun on the baseball field.”

Q: How many pitches do you currently throw and what would you say is your best strikeout pitch?

“I currently throw three pitches, my fastball, my changeup and my slider. I would say that whenever I’m in a situation where I need a wipeout, my slider is definitely my go to.”

5. Andrew Schantz (relief pitcher)

Pitcher Andrew Schantz has helped the Wildcats on the mound in relief as well as starting. His strongest performance came when he started against Cal State LA and went four innings, allowing just two hits and no runs while striking out three. Photo credit: Kate Angeles

Q: How long have you been a pitcher for and when did you first develop a passion for it?

“I’ve been a pitcher for as long as I can remember. I truly started to get a passion for it probably around my sophomore year of high school. That’s when I started to understand the game and understand the true grit of being on the mound. I just enjoy setting the tempo for the team and being in command.”

Q: What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

“I would say even on a day off I’m still with the team. We’re always going out and playing basketball and playing golf as well. Being with the team is one of my favorite things to do.”

6. Anthony Baleto (relief pitcher)

Chico State relief pitcher Anthony Baleto leads the team in relief appearances with 21 entering Sunday and has been a crucial part to the successful Wildcat bullpen. Photo credit: Kate Angeles

Q: How do you handle the pressure that comes with being a relief pitcher?

“Being a relief pitcher definitely comes with a lot of pressure but as bullpen guys we kind of live for those high pressure situations, so it almost comes natural and you really don’t feel it at all.”

Q: What is your favorite memory coming out of Chico?

“My favorite memory coming out of Chico is going to Houston last year with a great group of guys to play at the Astros ballpark and dog piling at the end of the season after winning the conference tournament and the conference itself.”

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

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