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The Daily Wildcat

 

Baseball’s Heyer earns Freshman All-American honor

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Baseball VS Fullerton Friday
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Baseball VS Fullerton Friday

After posting a 7-4 record and a 3.26 ERA last season, Arizona baseball ace Kurt Heyer was named a first-team Freshman All-American by Yahoo! Sports and Baseball America earlier this month. Heyer, who was also a first-team Pacific 10 Conference selection, set a UA freshman record for strikeouts (109) while walking only 29 batters in 102 innings pitched. The 19-year-old right-hander was the first Arizona player to be named a freshman All-American by Baseball America since current Cleveland Indians shortstop Jason Donald earned the honor back in 2004. The Summer Wildcat caught up with Heyer to get his reaction to the honor, gauge his excitement for next season and find out his favorite movie of the summer.

What was your reaction to the Freshman All-American honors?

I was pretty excited when I heard about it. I didn’t really think I was going to receive that kind of accolade. I guess my core work and performance on the mound showed and they thought I deserved it, so I was very happy that they chose me as one of the All-Americans this year.

Looking back, what do you think it was that earned you this award?

I don’t know, I want to say my consistency throughout the year. I don’t think I faltered. I was kind of going a little slower toward the end but I was still throwing strikes and everything. I was trying to keep the same mentality throughout the summer and they saw that I was doing that.

Reflecting back on your freshman year, how do you think you performed?

I thought I performed to the best of my ability. A few pitches got away from me in a couple of games but that’s baseball, you can’t do anything about it. I’m just happy my teammates backed me up when I needed them most. That really factored into how I pitched. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have looked so good.

Did you expect to have so much success in your first year at Arizona?

I had an idea that (Andy) Lopez wanted me to be one of the starters but I didn’t expect that he wanted me to be the ace the whole year. That kind of surprised me but it all fell into place because one good outing turned into another one and it just kind of kept taking its course throughout the season.

If I would have told you before the season that you would have an All-American season, what would you have said?

I would have been pretty surprised because I hadn’t done anything yet. … You have to prove yourself before you achieve that kind of honor. It would have been nice to be told the year before, but I’m happy that I found out at the end because if I knew that I would have gotten it then I probably wouldn’t have tried as hard.

Does it give you motivation going into next season to stay at that level?

Yeah, I have set very high standards for myself this year because you never really want to settle for a good year, you want to have a better year to show everybody that you’re consistently getting better and showing that you consistently have the same desires to be better than everybody else.

What have you been up to this summer?

I’ve been just relaxing a little bit, just taking a break from pitching and everything. I was supposed to be on a summer team but my coach told me to take a break and so far I’ve just been lifting, throwing a few bullpen sessions a week and just hanging out with everybody back at home.

What do you want to improve going into next year?

I want to work on my curveball and I want to get my changeup more consistent because toward the end I couldn’t really find an out pitch and my coach told me that my curveball would be my out pitch, so I’ve been working head-over-heels on that pitch. So hopefully my work will help me perfect that pitch.

The team is super young and almost everyone is coming back. What’s the excitement like heading into next season?

It’s crazy. We’re all really excited because we know that we’re a young team. Everybody has got some experience under their belt. We’re kind of just counting the days until that next opportunity to hit regionals because I know we have the talent, the desire, we have everything that a winning team has and we just need to put it all into play next year,

Lastly, I know you’re a huge movie guy. What’s been the best movie of the summer so far?

Best movie so far?  I don’t know, really. I just saw a movie yesterday, “”Inception,”” but that’s not a baseball movie. I think a new movie I just saw, it was called “”Sugar.”” It’s a baseball movie about a Dominican baseball player trying to deal with the adversity of coming to America and trying to make it to the bigs (major leagues).

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