It’s about getting noticed.
Two Sahuarita High School baseball players are spending the off season trying to do just that, playing for the Chicago White Sox scout team in 10 games this fall, to further their chances of continuing to play at the next level.
The games are typically played in front of numerous college coaches and pro scouts.
Senior Chris Kucko and sophomore Sati Santa Cruz were selected for the traveling team out of 60-plus players that tried out. Both pitched and played for the Mustangs last season.
The extensive tryouts were held at Sahuarita High School, with 30 players making the cut and playing for two different teams.
Players pitched, hit and fielded for coaches at the tryouts.
Kucko has been pitching and playing in the infield on the team.
“I usually pitch two innings and play third base,” he said. “My arm feels really good, the fastball is good.”
“I’ve done pretty well, I think I’ve struck out seven or eight and allowed just a couple of runs.”
It is his second year on the squad and he’s already getting attention from colleges in the state.
“So far I’ve gotten four or five offers from JUCOs and the U of A and Arizona State are looking at me for pitching,” Kucko said. “It’s all to get exposure for college.”
Santa Cruz is one of the younger players to make the team and will likely be a starter for the Mustangs in the spring.
“My pitching has been getting there,” he said. “They’re obviously going to get some hits, but overall it’s been pretty good.”
A fastball pitcher who’s already thrown over 90 miles per hour, he’s seen improvement in his other pitches since he worked mostly as a closer for the Mustangs in the spring.
“My slider has been working better and I’ve got my breaking balls down better than I had during the season,” he said. “It’s showing me what I need to work on and what pitches I need to develop and I feel like my slider and curve ball are working perfectly.”
Santa Cruz has been playing defense for the Mustangs’ football team this fall, so he’s had to divide his time between the two sports.
“Right now, since it’s football season I’m focusing a little more on that,” Santa Cruz said. “But on Saturday, when we have film times, I tell them I can’t go because I have the baseball games.”
He feels privileged to have been selected for the scout team as only a sophomore.
“It was a big honor and I was really nervous the first time, but I told myself to relax and just throw,” he said.
Kevin Duke: 547-9747