After a landslide win over Texas Southern, an unlikely hero stood amongst reporters.
Longhorn fans are used to hearing from freshmen like Eric Kennedy and Bryce Reagan. But after Tuesday, catcher Caston Peter joins the duo after an incredible showing.
Peter couldn’t contain his excitement as he recounted the home run, five RBIs and two runs he tallied on a windy Tuesday night. However, it’s not being a freshman that makes Peter an unexpected standout—it’s his walk-on status.
As the co-valedictorian of Stratford High School in Houston, Texas, Peter was accepted into the University of Texas at Austin on merit. Initially, he wasn’t even planning on playing collegiate baseball.
“For a while I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play D1 baseball at all,” Peter said. “And then my summer coach really helped me out, my high school coach got me in contact with (Texas head coach David Pierce) and I came to a couple of camps. They saw me play in the summer.”
Pierce recognized Peter’s abilities at Texas’ summer programs and decided to offer Peter a spot on the squad. However, as a freshman walk-on, Peter was never expected to start a game.
“But to start this season he was definitely our number three and so you really don’t play your number three very often,” Pierce said. “And if you do, anyone in the country is going to suffer from it.”
That was until the shocking loss of catcher DJ Petrinsky and injury to Michael McCann that Peter quickly found himself behind home plate with little college experience.
Prior to Stanford, Peter went 0-5 on the plate with only one walk. At Stanford, though, Peter was able to get his first hit of the season which would prove fruitless in their 9-0 defeat. Peter recognized that his unsuccessful performances took a toll, but his teammates helped him build his confidence.
“I haven’t played all that well but I just kind of settled down and got some confidence in myself,” Peter said. “My teammates picked me up let me know that I’m here for a reason and they believe in me and that’s helped me believe in myself and just calmed me down.”
That, coupled with the support Petrinsky and McCann have given Peter, allowed him to find success.
“I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for DJ and Mike,” Peter said. “I mean, they work with me every single day, they give in the best position to succeed.”
Pierce said he was not only proud of the player Caston has become, but is confident in his two catchers.
“For him to settle in and start looking like a guy who is comfortable doing his job, that’s very encouraging,” Pierce said. “Our pitchers like throwing to him, so hopefully we’re back to a pretty solid one and two for Michael and Caston.”
Now, with No. 12 Texas Tech coming to town Friday to kick off conference play, Caston can’t help but feel confident about their upcoming series.
“I mean it was great, coming off a rough series where things just weren’t going our way to come back and build our confidence with our pitchers, our hitters and our defense just felt awesome,” Caston said. “Especially rolling into Big 12 play this weekend.”