By Heather Knobeloch
Baseball has always been in Caleb Wright’s life. He would play in school during the spring, play in summer league, attend fall practices and just throw in winter. But his time to play collegiate baseball is coming to an end.
“I entered this year knowing this is my last season wearing a Cougar uniform,” Wright said. “I have grown a lot throughout my past three years as a person and as a player. I can attribute a majority of that to my involvement in the team.”
Even though Wright has been with the Cougars for three years, the time hasn’t passed slowly for Wright.
“It feels like it has gone by really fast,” Wright said. “I can still remember how nervous I was pitching my first game as a freshman and what a great experience that was. I know I have developed a lot since then. This season I really want to make the most out of what I have spent my entire life practicing to get better at and enjoy every minute of it.”
He still has his final season to go to enjoy and maybe reach a few last goals.
Wright wants the team goal to be “to make it into postseason play, win the conference tournament and try to make it to the World Series,” he said.
“My hope is that we can achieve those goals by competing well and also have an enjoyable, fun last season with my teammates.”
Wright likes baseball for many reasons.
“I really like the pressure and competing,” Wright said. “It’s such a unique and awesome feeling when you’re facing a hitter, and it’s just you versus them.
“There are tons of distractions, and you have to zone them all out. I love just being out there, covered in sweat and playing the game.”
The enjoyment extends to hanging out with teammates.
“Some of the best memories I have while playing have been in the dugout or at practice playing practical jokes, or joking around with each other,” Wright said.
“Finally, I really have learned to love practicing and getting better. Baseball is a year-round sport. Enjoying getting better at it makes it easier to wait for game days.”
When game day comes, Wright knows what his strengths are and what he needs to work on.
“My strengths are that I have a large arsenal of pitches–five–and I can locate well with each one,” Wright said. “I have good movement with my pitches to make it harder for hitters to make good contact, and I don’t have overpowering velocity so I have to rely more on movement with my pitches and keeping hitters off balance by changing speeds with each pitch.”
Wright’s teammate Darren Athey appreciates playing ball with Wright.
“Caleb is an encouraging teammate who is always working hard on his own game, but also always trying to help out his teammates as well,” Athey said.
“Caleb’s impact to the team is important because he is a strong starting pitcher. We know that every time he steps onto the mound that we have a good shot at winning.
“This season I believe we will be really good because we have an experienced team back, and we have a lot of goals and expectations that we believe we can achieve.”
Wright’s parents made the biggest impact on him, he said.
“They raised me with very good values to help shaped me into the person I am today,” Wright said. “They taught me how to overcome hard situations in life and always keep a good attitude about everything. A lot can be accomplished through hard work and determination, and I owe that belief to my parents’ teaching and examples.”
He is hoping to enter the field of human resources after he graduates. His dream job is “to work as a human resource manager.”
“However,” he said, “my dream job would probably be to work in ticket sales, marketing, or be in event planning for a major league baseball team.”
Wright will also continue to play baseball on whatever level he can.
Before he leaves the field at season’s end, he has some advice to pass along.
“No matter what situation you’re in, try to focus on the positives instead of the negatives and always keep each in perspective,” Wright said. “Confidence and success are a state of mind. You can achieve anything if you believe in yourself and tell yourself you
can do it. “
Besides advice, he hopes to have changed his team for the better.
“I would like my lasting impact to be on the development of our pitching staff by helping them improve their skills,” Wright said.
“I would also like to have the impact of having the best knuckleball of any Cougar pitcher in history.”