2020 RHP Chase Centala Commits to USF

Congrats on your new commitment! What is it about South Florida that excites you the most?

What I am most excited about at USF is the impressive growth of the program and the opportunity to become part of something great there. It is close to home and my family, which was not the top reason I chose them, but certainly is a benefit. The coaching staff is top notch and the head coach is the pitching coach with an impressive record of developing next level pitchers. I just felt the coaches were genuine and really wanted me there to be part of the program. I also feel I will have the opportunity to contribute immediately my freshman year. 

You were part of the inaugural class of the Top Tier Roos last summer. Tell us about your experience with the Roos these last two years and what it means to wear the TT?

It has been unreal, way more than I expected. Top Tier itself is very reputable and well respected across the baseball nation, and to be able to be a part of starting that in Tampa was great. It has been an honor to wear that uniform and play with some of the best players and talent, not just locally but nationally. To have the exposure and play at that level has helped me challenge myself to improve and become better not just for myself but for my team.

Talk a little bit about the recruiting process and how everything went down. 

It was exciting to have some big schools interested in me for their program and the opportunity to play for them. It was crazy to think I have been watching some of the schools for years competing in the College World Series and that now I had the opportunity to be part of one of those teams. The rules for talking to coaches were challenging at times because everything needed to go through other people first. Apart from that it was an experience I will never forget. It was helpful to have Jason, Andy, Griffin, as well as my high school coach Eric Luksis, to help me as well to talk things through when I needed to understand how to respond or handle some of the more challenging situations. The process was fun and exciting, but stressful in a good way. All that said, it was worth it!!!!

What were some of the priorities you looked at when deciding where you wanted to commit?

It was important to me to have the opportunity to play as a freshman and potentially be a weekend starter at a top program. I wanted to feel they wanted me as much as I wanted to be there and USF definitely delivered on that. Academic quality of school was also a factor because a quality education is extremely important. Lastly, being close to home, although not a top priority, turned out to be a nice option for me.

What challenges do you see ahead of you before you get to campus?

I know I will need to stay focused on finishing high school strong academically, stay healthy, and to continue to improve my game to be ready when I step on campus. I understand that college is a completely different game and I will be ready when I get there, both on the field and in the classroom.

What are some of the goals you have set for yourself as a college baseball player?

It is important to me that I am a great teammate and that my teammates and coaches see me that way also. That is what makes the good teams great and good players better. I want to play and be a weekend starter as a freshman. It is a goal of mine to win conference championships and to play in and win the College World Series. And, of course my long term goal is to have the opportunity to be drafted and become a major league baseball player some day.

Is there anybody you would like to give a shout-out or thanks to?

First and foremost, I would thank my mom and dad who put in both time and money to allow me to do all that I have been able to do.  Their support and belief in me helped me push to be my best.  Without them none of this would have been possible. Thanks to the entire Top Tier organization with special thanks to Coach Jason, Andy and Griffin, who gave me not just the opportunity but the visibility that allowed me to be have some big moments which was a big reason I received the interest from many of the colleges that I did.  I also want to thank my high school coaches: Coach Luksis, Coach Adams, and Coach Rigau who have helped me grow into the player, pitcher, and teammate I am today. Lastly, I would say thank you to my teammates; without them and their support both on and off the field I would not have had the success I have had.

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