infielder Quincy McAfee of the Pepperdine baseball team tells us about the
recent offensive explosion from the Waves, and about his transition from high
school to college:
Q: The Waves are coming
off quite the offensive showing with 43 runs in the past 4 games. What has clicked
for the Waves in the past couple games?
A: I think just being able to stick to our approach and buying into the approach has really helped. We talk about sitting on fastballs and hitting fastballs, and I think that we have done that really well these past couple of weeks.
Q: How can you, as a team, continue to
produce those kinds of numbers at the plate?
A: Just to continue to stick to that approach. Occasionally, we will come
upon situations where we try to do too much instead of doing what we know and
what we are comfortable with, and in those situations, we just need to trust
our coaches and trust our approach.
Q: In the weeks before
the offensive explosion, the bats were struggling a little bit. Has the
coaching changed at all during the weeks, or has the team mentality changed?
A: I think it is a bit of both. It is really not fun as a hitter to not hit well and not produce runs for the team. So the want and need to produce is definitely up there. But I think that trust in our teammates and the mentality of the team has really improved and produced the runs that we need. Once one person gets going, there is really a ripple effect that takes place, and we just keep going.
Q: Historically, the baseball team has been a really close team. Do you think
the family mentality contributes to the success of the team?
A: Yeah, everyone is
definitely close. I think that it starts with the seniors. They do a great job
of not separating themselves from the team. I also think that we as freshmen
have done a good job following in the footsteps of the guys older than us. We
all kind of mesh together, and it makes it easy to compete together.
Q: You are a freshman this year. How did the upperclassmen welcome you into the team? Were they pretty easy to get along with as soon as you arrived on campus?
A: Yeah, and it was a little surprising to me, because I had no idea what to expect. The first person I met when I first arrived on campus was Ben Rodriguez. He was extremely welcoming, as was Brandon Caruso, the second teammate I met on campus. The seniors have definitely been embracing us young guys and showing us the ropes.
Q: Coming to California all they way from Texas is a pretty big change. How has that transition been from high school to college?
A: Academically, it has definitely been a greater challenge. Being away from everyone, including our families, has been tough, but I think that all the guys on the team have made the transition a lot easier. They invite us all over to their apartments and houses, and make a point of hanging out with us. It's been really cool.
Q: Along that line, you moved out here with a familiar face. Your high school teammate, Brandt Belk, is also here playing baseball at Pepperdine. What was that like back at home? Did you guys make the decision together? Or did things just kind of work out?
A: Things just kind of worked out that way. Initially, he was going to Rice, and I was coming here. His going to Rice fell through, and there was always the option of coming out to Pepperdine. He ended up coming, and it was awesome being able to go to school with my best friend. Not only did we go out of state and into the same new state, but we also came to the same school. It definitely made the transition easier. It made it easier to go out and meet people and make friends.
Q: You came in and started playing right away. Was the move from high school
baseball to college baseball a difficult one? Or did you feel real comfortable
as soon as you stepped in?
A: It was a little
difficult. I actually got a chance to play in the North Woods League, a college
summer ball league, over summer. That experience made it a lot easier coming in
to Pepperdine. Playing in the North Woods was really difficult at first. The
game was faster, and the guys were bigger and stronger. I felt that when I
first came out here, the first month or two of baseball really helped the
Q: Finally, as we are
in the middle of conference season now, what can we expect from the Waves the
rest of the season?
A: Hopefully, a lot more games like the past couple weeks. Games where we score a lot of runs, and our pitchers continue to dominate on the mound.