The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

June 17, 2014

Crosscutters' first baseman coming off huge college season

WILLIAMSPORT — He may have left his heart in San Francisco as a Giants fan, but Rhys (pronounced Reece) Hoskins is already falling in love with the city of Williamsport.

“On the way to the ball park, we drove by the first Little League field and just seeing that is absolutely awesome,” he said. “Especially being a baseball fan, it is really cool to see.”

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-handed hitter was drafted in the fifth round this year by the Phillies and was the first infielder they took.

Hoskins said he has had a bat in his hand ever since he could walk.

“My dad was a big Giants fan and I grew up watching the game,” he said.

By age 10, Hoskins was playing on older teams and when he got to high school at Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.), he branched out to also play football and basketball.

“Jesuit is definitely a baseball school and Sacramento is a baseball hotbed,” he said. “There’s a lot of good talent that comes out of Sacramento.”

Hoskins said he loved watching Barry Bonds bat, and as a first baseman, he loved to watch J.T. Snow play the position.

This past year as a junior at Sacramento State, he drove in 53 runs in 59 games. He had 68 hits, 30 of which were for extra bases.

“Rhys had a good three years for us, he has lots of power and he helped us turn the program around,” Sacramento State skipper Reggie Christiansen said. “He was pretty balanced this past year at the plate. He had more walks than strikeouts and he hit for a higher average. His defensive side is where he needs to improve and he knows it.”

Hoskins was third on the team in batting (.319) and he had a fielding percentage of .986.

“He lost his mom when he was a sophomore in high school and he had to grow up a lot faster than most kids,” Christiansen added. “He asked the most mature questions of any kid I’ve ever had.”

Hoskins noted that in high school he went from sport to sport and it wasn’t until college that he got to play baseball year round.

“It helped me refine my game,” he said of playing year round. “I got bigger, stronger and faster and my game just took off.”

He’s already making new friends on a team that has only two returning players from last year.

“The team seems to be a great group of guys and anytime you are having fun, the game is always a lot more fun to play,” he said.

The Hornets beat No. 18 Arizona State in NCAA regional play on May 31. Hoskins’ lead-off walk in the bottom of the eighth with the scored tied at 2 led to the go-ahead run.

It was their fourth win over a nationally ranked team this year.

“When I went to Sacramento State, my goal was to help put the program on the map,” he said. “I think we were able to do that. Being able to knock off Arizona State, a perennial powerhouse in college baseball, was cool.”

Hoskins was the first All-American at the school since 2009. He led the Western Athletic Conference with nine home runs and a .563 slugging percentage in 2014 and was named the WAC player of the year.

After three years at Sacramento State, he is tied for third in the program’s history with 128 RBIs and 49 doubles. He is sixth on the career list for home runs (25) and he collected 200 hits, eighth best in school history.

Christiansen went on to say that Hoskins has a very good baseball IQ.

“Fans in Williamsport are going to see a kid with raw power who has big league power,” he said.

Over time, Hoskins might leave his heart in Williamsport on his way to Philadelphia.

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