Decker adjusts to college life, hopes to impress
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 12:10
From big man on campus to the bottom of the barrel, this is the life of a freshman athlete. Student athletes go from being one of the stars of their high school teams to having to fight for a position on their new collegiate squad.
This rings true for freshman baseball standout Bo Decker.
Decker, a Clermont native, was the MVP of his high school team last year, hitting .385 with nine doubles and a pair of home runs. His .352 career batting average was good enough for second all-time at East Ridge High School, and he was named to the Rawlings All-American Second Team.
Now, Decker puts that high school success behind him and focuses on the beginning of his college career.
Decker was drafted in the 39th round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. Though most may consider the choice between going pro and going to college, the decision was simple for him.
He said he loves the fast-paced life that is college. Just like academics are tougher from high school to college, the same is true when it comes to athletics.
“It’s quick and busy and I’m always doing something. I don’t have time to just sit around. Practices are longer and harder and more intense than in high school, but I love it,” Decker said.
Decker said he would like to play a vital role on the team this season, even starting if that’s possible. He recognizes the high standards that come with being a UCF baseball player, and he fully embraces that challenge.
“I would love to have a starting position on this team, but whatever I can do to help our team make it to Omaha, [Neb., site of the College World Series] is what I want to do,” Decker said.Understanding his new role on the team, Decker values the advice he gets from his elder teammates.
“There’s so many little things the older players always note. Whether it’s about working out or conditioning. They’re always making sure we’re hustling,” Decker said.
Fellow freshman Tyler Martin has been someone Decker has connected with. The two are roommates and have quickly become great friends. Decker said you can’t see one driving without the other in the passenger seat of the car.
Decker got off to a fast start in the team’s annual Black and Gold World Series. In his first at-bat, he blooped a fly ball down the right field line, which would have been a single for most people. Immediately hustling out of the box, Decker turned what would be a single into a double, and eventually scored the first run of the game.
“Bo is going to be a really good player here. He’s one of those young players who I definitely think is going to hit for us,” head coach Terry Rooney said. “We have to find a position for him as he continues to develop defensively, but offensively he did some nice things for us."