2015 Media Day Quotes

Head Coach Brad Hill

On return of injured pitchers to the staff...
"It looks like (Colton) Kalmus and (Nate) Williams will be back, but (Blake) McFadden is not going to make it (back healthy this season). It's very unfortunate, upsetting, disappointing. (Blake's) a great kid, and we were really hoping that he would be back, if for nothing else, he's a great character person, good teammate, and kind of a rising leader on our team. It's nice to have Nate back and the confidence he brings to the back end of games. Colton has really thrown the ball well, and we expect him to get better and better. Between those two guys, and (Nate) Griep and (Levi) MaVorhis, those are four guys who have a little bit of experience going their way."

On if the excitement of a new season still exists from the end of fall to today...
"There are more transfers than what we have had in a while. We need them to kind of step up and speed up their process a bit. Everyone's excited because that's the way it is. I think there's some nervous energy because, from a coaching staff, I don't know what we are going to get, to be honest with you. I really don't know how these guys are going to respond. When you have an experienced group, you kind of know what to expect. And this group, I'm not sure what to expect. We are just trying to go back to the basics and establish a style of play as well as some expectations of how we want them to handle themselves in games and try to grow from there. I'm not sure how we are going to respond and react, but we hope that Nate Griep will go out there and be a mature redshirt sophomore for us and be a settling component. Levi (MaVorhis) can do the same thing. Without Shane (Conlon), unfortunately, for the first week or two, that hurts a little bit not having him on the field at first base. There's probably some nervousness on just not knowing what to expect."

On who are the standouts among the transfers...
"Tyler Wolfe, number one shortstop. He kind of continues a long line of shortstops we have had. He's a plus defender. He's still working on his swing and trying to develop a swing that is going to give him a little bit more success. We've been really impressed with him. The next guy who comes to mind, who is a walk-on, is Tyler Moore. He has really given Alex Bee some competition behind the plate, and I think if you were going to open up today, Alex might get a slight nod over (Tyler), but he will definitely catch. He has also been a pretty good bat for us. So, he may even be in the lineup swinging a bat when he's not catching. Steve Serratore has a really good bat, but unfortunately, he's got a wrist injury, so we're not sure - hopefully, he's going to be ready when the season starts. We could use his bat, but we have three or four other guys who really need to step forward here and play well for us early."

On differences in coaching this year compared to last year relative to lineup uncertainty...
"It's an unfortunate cycle that we just hit. We lost a lot of people (from last year), and that just hasn't happened in our program for a long time. It's kind of like starting over. We have had to really get into the teaching aspect because again, it's all new people. In the past, we have really relied upon our returning players to grab the guy that is playing next to him, or below him, and work with him, help them develop. Now, it's more of we (the coaching staff) have to really jump in."

On any comparisons to previous teams...
"I'm not comparing anything right now. I don't know what to compare it to; this group is so different."

On what is used from experiencing the last two years...
"Well, you always want to learn from experiences, good or bad, and unfortunately, we didn't utilize the learning experience very well last year when we had a chance to capitalize on a positive. Now, we are going to try to build off of something that wasn't so positive last year. You don't want to really labor on it, but at the same time, you want to take some things out of that and point things out that you think maybe contributed to why we didn't have as much success. You try to stay more positive and stay more directive on some things that you feel like you can control. We did so many things last year that were out of our control; we tried to control everything that we had no control over. We want to get back in and be K-State baseball, who we are and how hard we are going to play; just little intangible things that really identified our program. We really got away from those things last year, and we really need to get back to those things this year."

On if returners are more driven coming off of last year...
"I think everybody is (a little more driven). I'm nervous about next week, but I want to get started. I'd like to get out there and put this team on the field and see what we are going to do. The nervousness is because of injuries and just some different things. I don't know what we are going to get. We want to get started because you want to get the taste from last year out of your mouth, but you're nervous because you don't know what you are going to get and how the kids are going to respond."

On Shane Conlon and his leadership...
"The thing Shane brings to the table is that he is not an everyday talker. He's a guy, when he does talk, you generally listen because he usually has some pretty good points. He's kind of a sit-back observer, and when it kind of gets to a point where he needs to inject something, he'll do that. Usually we know when he says something that it has some thought process into it. It's something he has seen building that needs to be addressed. So you put a little more stock into it when he speaks up."

On concerns entering opening weekend...
"We're in the unknown right now. All that we are going to demand is establish a style of play that we want, and try to create an attitude where guys are going to be really unselfish, playing hard, competing, and trying to do little things that they can control that will give us some opportunities to be successful in games."



Max Brown, senior outfielder
On emotions entering opening weekend...
"We are really excited. We got a great team this season - just a really good team chemistry. We've worked all fall, and everyone is just itching to play other teams."

On any added drive from last season...
"There's a huge drive, especially from the guys who have been here forever: Shane Conlon, (Carter) Yagi, me, guys who were here last year. Just go out and prove something. Prove people wrong."

On returners being more active in showing the new guys around...
"With me being new last year, it took a little while to get some getting used to everything. The guys that have been here have definitely helped these new guys. You can tell, it's a huge difference from the fall. Just how (the newcomers) go about themselves; a lot more maturity from the freshmen. They have just made some huge strides."

On unknowns going into the start of the season from a player's perspective...
"For the new guys, it's a whole new experience, playing Division I ball and Big 12 ball. From that part, it's unknown for them. But we know we're going to play how we play, that blue-collar mentality. Every game, playing hard and doing the little things right."

On any standouts among the newcomers...
"Tyler Wolfe, shortstop, made some really big strides since the fall. Just a great kid all the way around. Danny Krause, Steve Serratore, the list just really goes on and on."



Carter Yagi, senior infielder
On the motivation factor based on how last season went...
"There's definitely a chip on our shoulder, but this year is different (than last year) because there is a lot of weight lifted off of our shoulders. Last year, I think we had a hard time dealing with the expectation of what we were supposed to be instead of just going out there and playing and proving people wrong. I think with the young guys this year, it's nice to not have so much maturity because we can just go out there and play hard and just do what we can do every day."

On working on something that was a negative last year that has been improved...
"I think just taking the game moment by moment, pitch by pitch. Last year, we kind of focused on the bigger picture, making it to Omaha. Our opener is against Iowa; we're focusing on Iowa right now. We want to win the Big 12, but we're not looking that far forward yet. We're doing a better job of just living in the exact moment right now."

On injuries making it tough preparing for the season...
"It makes it tough, but it also helps us know how much depth we have because things are going to happen. People are going to get hurt. The guys that have filled in have done just an absolutely great job. We know that we are deep at every position this year. It's going to be tough not knowing who is going to be healthy on which day, but we definitely know we have depth and guys that can fill every role.

On team chemistry...
"We have a bunch of likable guys, which is easy being around a bunch of guys you like. As far as returners, I think that is one thing that we struggled with last year, team chemistry. This year we are just really focused on making everyone feel really welcome. There are no outsiders. The younger guys also brought a level of maturity with them that they were aware of the situation that they were in. So we (the returners) helped guide them in the right direction as far as chemistry goes."

On Shane Conlon's leadership...
"He's just a guy you want to model yourself after. He's kind of a role model to everyone, does everything the right way. When he talks, you want to listen because if you ever watch him play, he just plays hard and gives everything that he has. He will do anything for his teammates, so that definitely helps, too."



Nate Williams, redshirt junior pitcher
On returning from last year's injury...
"I'm extremely excited. You don't realize how much you miss something until it is taken away from you. It was also nice to watch baseball from a different view. You get to know the game a lot better when you are not playing every day. I took some positives out of it."

On the team...
"This is a great group of guys. The team chemistry, everyone is always excited to get on the field. With this weather we have been having lately, everyone is able to get outside and get our work done, and the guys are loving that. There is a good energy right now with the team."

On how they built a good team chemistry so far...
"That was one of our big goals. We really, really wanted to come together as a team because it made such a difference in the past when you have a tight-knit group of guys. When you build that team chemistry, it makes winning so much easier."

On his mentality entering the season...
"I try to keep a pretty even keel. I just go out, and I know my role. I know what I have to do for the team, and the guys will also pick me up. It's never really been an up-and-down for me."

On the drive and motivation shown by the returners...
"That's one thing that I love about being here. There's always drive, every year. You come out to the park, come out to practice, and everyone is going to give you everything they have, every day. I think the drive is there, from the upperclassmen and all the way down to the new guys and freshmen."

On getting off to a good start in opening weekend...
"It's important to come out and show who you are, show your team, all those things, right off the bat. We pride ourselves on playing baseball hard, and we will every day that we come out to the field. It's really important to make a strong presence those first couple of weekends."



Shane Conlon, redshirt senior first baseman
On his motivation entering his senior year...
"Senior year, I'm going to leave it all out there with nothing to lose. I'm going to do everything that I can for the team. You know, it's the last year, and I want it to start, but it's going to fly by and I don't want it to end. I'm going to cherish the day-in, day-out grind. It's a long season, and hopefully, (we) progress throughout the year and get back into a Regional because that is the main goal right now. Get back into the postseason and give ourselves a chance."

On emphasizing leadership being a fifth-year senior...
"My whole thing this year, in the fall, especially with all of the new guys, is develop close relationships. For me, it's about if you can get a team that is closely knit together and is willing to do anything for the guy next to him; that is how we have been successful in the past. When that team spreads apart and goes its own separate ways that is when the team goes into turmoil. My goal going into this year, being the guy who has been here the longest, is to form relationships with all of the guys, young or old, so that when we get on the field, we are willing to do anything for each other."

On the team's expectations entering this season...
"(There are) no expectations, but obviously, we are going to get picked at the bottom of the Big 12, which is fine. None of that stuff matters. Obviously, we saw that last year when we were picked to win the league again. That stuff doesn't matter; you can't be thinking about that. The main thing is we are not even trying to think about our expectations. We are going to take it one game at a time. The main goal is to progress as the season goes on and be playing your best baseball at the end of the year or come Big 12 play. As I've seen in the past, you just have to get hot at the right time. If you are getting hot at the end of the season, it's going to be a good thing."

On his approach in building relationships with teammates...
"I just wanted to hang out with more guys. I was injured this whole fall, so I didn't really play a lot, but I took that as an opportunity to sit around with those guys during practice and teach them the ups and downs of the game because I have been through it before. Hopefully, when they get older, they can leave that impact on someone like people have done on me. I've always enjoyed the upperclassmen helping me out, so hopefully, over time, they can do the same thing for somebody else.

On team chemistry...
"You know, when you have a turnaround like that (from last season to this season) when a bunch of guys leave and you have 20-plus new guys, the only place to start is to start building team chemistry. With 40 people coming in during the fall, and no one really knows each other, you have to take a step to do that or else it can turn into situations like those in the past. Building team chemistry was the number one goal, and we were going to deal with baseball in the next step."

On personal goals...
"I want to be playing in the postseason. That's a huge goal. Be top-three in the league - if you are top-three in the league, you give yourself a great chance (to reach the postseason). My personal goals are set aside this year. I do have those for myself, but for me, it's all about the team. Like I said earlier, I have nothing to lose. If we can make a run at this thing, it will be a pretty memorable senior year for myself."