Interview conducted on 4/20/2016
Who are you playing with in 2016?
2017 USSSA Newbreed
2016 BHR/Coppermine Lodge/ASP/Worth
What positions do you play and what is your best position?
I play both, IF/OF. I can play LF, RF, 3rd, SS, 5M, 2nd and 1st, if needed. I'm best playing infield in my opinion.
Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
The best softball player I've seen play is Bryson Baker. The guy is a leadoff hitter that places the ball where he wants. If needed, he will hit for power with the best of them. Defensively, you can put him anywhere on the infield and he may not be the fastest but he would probably make most plays in the outfield. Overall a very well-rounded ball player.
Why do you like the game of softball?
I like the game of softball because it brings so many different types of people together. It brings out the competitor in all of us. What better way to spend a dozen weekends a year than playing ball with people from all over the country.
What is your height and weight?
Where do you call home?
I live in Carmichael, CA (suburb of Sacramento)
What's your favorite way to spend an off weekend?
My favorite way to spend an off weekend totally depends on the season.
What do you do for a living?
I am a Supervisor for the Withholding Services and Compliance Section of the California Franchise Tax Board. If you sell real estate in California, I know about it. Haha
Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
High School: Football/Baseball (4 years) – Pittsburg High School (California)
College: Baseball; P/SS/CF (4 years) – California State University, East Bay
How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
I started playing softball when I was 13 years old. I played in a local charity tournament called the Michael Valle Softball Tournament (Pittsburg, Ca) as a substitute for one of my brothers. I didn't realize that adults played competitively on weekends (since I was only 13). I wore a tuxedo to the tournament. Yes, that's right, a tuxedo. I had a blast playing that weekend. I still wear a tuxedo every Sunday to that tournament (15 years and counting). I carried the tuxedo over to competitive tournaments (E division) shortly after high school and was picked up at 18 on a local C team (Kinder's/Worth). I started college ball shortly after and had to quit the team. They won NSA C Worlds that year. Haha. After college, I won a few world tournaments (E,D,C) with a Northern California team (Junkies/Demarini) and was picked up by Classic Glass in 2012.
What was the most surprising difference between Conference play and non-Conference play when you made the jump?
The most surprising difference between Conference and non-Conference play is definitely the pitching. Having a great pitcher on your team is a difference maker. They can speed up or slow down the game considerably.
What would you say is your career highlight to this point? Maybe one play or game that sticks out to you in particular?
My career highlight in softball is one that my teammates and I will never forget. We (Junkies/Demarini) were playing NSA C Worlds in Oklahoma vs. a team from Southern California team. It was a night game and the lights weren't very high so it made visibility very poor. I was playing SS and Nick Price was playing LF. The batter hit a sky-scraping fly ball to Nick but he never saw it go up. I turned and took off towards him. He just stood there looking up with his hands in the air yelling "I can't see it!". Just before the ball hit the ground, I was at a full sprint and layed out (Jim Edmonds-esk) and caught it. The best part was he was about 15 feet from the fence and he never moved. I landed 10 feet from him and he screamed, "HOLY $#!T, YOU CAUGHT IT!".
In your career was there a single person (player/manager/coach) who had the most significant impact on your approach to the game? Why?
Dameon Smith is a player/manager/coach; all-in-one. He has been playing the game for a long time and is one of the smartest ball players I've ever played with.
What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
The best advice for a young player is to never give up. It only takes one player, a coach, or a manager to hear about what you can offer a team and you will get your shot.
What type of batting grip do you use and what ounce bat?
Two-finger overlap (26oz)
What is your favorite sports team and your favorite sport other than softball?
Baseball: Oakland Athletics
Basketball: Utah Jazz
Football: Oakland Raiders
Hockey: Philadelphia Flyers
I can sit and watch sports all day.
What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
I believe the best improvement to upper level softball would be to make all Conference tournaments equal in points. There has been an argument for years about how West coast teams are at a disadvantage because all the big point tournaments are back East. An equal points distribution per Conference tournament would balance out this uneven scale. Also, if your bat fails compression they should be able to cut open the bat and if the bat is clean, it is replaced. If the bat is altered, you should be suspended for a calendar year for the 1st offense and a lifetime ban for the 2nd offense.
What is your favorite non-World tournament and why?
My favorite non-World tournament is the Michael Valle Tournament held in Pittsburg, Ca. This tournament brings together family and friends from all over looking to have a fun weekend on the diamond. Ages range from 13-75. Men hit the 16" mush softball and women hit the 11" softball to level the playing field.
What is the best softball field/complex you have played at and why?
The nicest softball complex I have played in was Cherry Park (Rock Hill, SC). We won NSA E Worlds that weekend and enjoyed how well-kept the fields were throughout the tournament.