How have you been staying active during these troubling times?


I have been staying active by running. My mom (Valarie) has been running most of her life and she has always tried to make me into a runner to help with my endurance. I finally caved in. I run five days a week all over Elgin. By the end of the week I usually run 20-25 miles.


Tell me something about your early days playing softball.


When I was around 12 years old I played on my first select team called ETX Elite. We were at Huber Ranch in Seguin and it started to rain, which made the ball very slick. I ended up losing my grip during my arm rotation. Instead of going toward the plate, the ball went toward second base. Twice. I am still embarrassed to this day.


What led you to become a pitcher?


At one of the first practices for my Little League minors team, my coach, Tim Carter, accidentally hit a rocket line drive and gave me a black eye. A few weeks later, he realized that our team desperately needed a pitcher and he asked me if I would be interested in trying it out. I think he was trying to make up for the black eye, but the rest is history.


You have something painted on your face when you pitch. What’s that all about?


It is two Ks. A regular K and a backwards K. This stands for a strikeout swinging and a strikeout looking. It’s unique, but appropriate for a pitcher. My Elgin teammates and I add our own twist to eye black using glitter. We apply normal eye black and put a layer of glitter ranging from purple, black, sliver, and my favorite, pink on top. It makes us stand out, looks good and intimidates opponents.


What is your favorite memory playing for Elgin?


In the first round of the playoffs last year, we played Weiss. This was my first appearance on the mound during a playoff game and I was super nervous. In the seventh inning we were winning 6-0 with two outs. The last out was a line drive hit to me. After catching it, I threw down the ball and started jumping up and down while screaming. I am usually one to hold in my emotions, but was overcome with the excitement of not only winning, but also to have my first playoff game performance be a shutout.


If you could have dinner with four people in the history of the world, who would they be?


I would choose Jesus Christ, my grandpa (Alton Neidig), Colt McCoy and Jennifer Aniston.


Why your grandpa?


I’d do anything to see him again. My grandpa loved to watch his grandchildren play sports and never missed a game. I wish I could give him a hug and tell him how much I love him.


As a pitcher, what are your thoughts about wearing a mask?


I normally wear a mask when I pitch in a game, but there are photos of me without one during warmups. If it were my choice I would not wear a mask, but my parents have made it clear that I will wear one. It has become a running joke that my coaches and teammates don’t want me to get in trouble with mama bear so I am constantly reminded to make sure I have it packed.


Tell me something about you that most people don't know.


I haven’t drank soda since October 26, 2012, after reading the book "Growing Up Colt" by Colt McCoy. He stopped drinking soda to become a better athlete and I thought I should do the same.


Do you have plans after you graduate?


Nothing is solidified but I have decided to not pursue college softball. Instead, I would like to attend the University of Texas. I have not decided on a major, but psychology and business are two of my interests right now.


Outside of sports, what do you for fun in Elgin?


I love to read and hang out with my friends and family. With Elgin being a small town, we usually drive to Austin for fun. You might also catch me with a camera or picking on my older brother, Jacob, in my free time.


Rick Cantu