Prep Baseball Report

PBR CO Friday Spotlight: Interview with Heritage Catcher Casey Opitz

By Neil Devlin
Senior Writer
Denver Metro Area

Casey Opitz is very hot in Cincinnati and it has nothing to do with Ohio's humidity and climate in July.

The senior-to-be at Heritage in Littleton is living up to his family lineage -- he's toiling this summer for Cincinnati's Midland Redskins, a prestigious Connie Mack team recognized nationally.

So if the switch-hitting catcher is asked to pen an essay next month when school begins on what he did this summer, he's all set with ample material.

"It's an unbelievable experience," a busy Opitz said this week following one of his team's rainouts.

He also recently committed to Arkansas in case he needs another topic for an essay.

The Razorbacks, Opitz said, "came to me at the beginning of the spring season and they just had a catcher get drafted in the second round. They need a 2017 guy to come in and play."

Play? Opitz has distinguished himself. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder topped the Eagles, who finished 14-7 and earned a Class 5A host district seed, with a .424 batting average and 28 hits. But his play goes beyond numbers.

"Casey really is one of the top catchers in the country," Heritage coach Scott Hormann said. "He has pop time, he runs well, handles pitchers probably as well as I've ever seen and he understands the game."

And playing for the Midland Redskins can only help. They recently competed in their 40th game since May and are a good bet to progress in the playoffs. Their alumni includes Ken Griffey Jr. as well as the Kansas City Royals' Eric Hosmer, who earlier in the week was named MVP of the All-Star Game held in San Diego.

"Midland called me and asked about (Casey) and I thought it would be great for him," Hormann said.

Opitz, a native Coloradan, is due back in August, and he'll have some stories to share.

For instance:

On playing in humidity: "It's definitely. a tough adjustment and you have to adjust quick."

On the Redskins facility: "Guys are working out there constantly, but it's still in good shape."

On the competition: "It's crazy here, you always see these guys throw at least 86 (mph), then you hit those guys touching 90s with unbelievable breaking stuff. It's what I'll see at the next level."

On being out on his own: "Being away from home, that was the hardest part, I'm so close with my family, but my brothers head out every summer."

Both brothers starred at Heritage. Oldest brother Jake, who soon will turn 30, is recovering from a torn labrum in a hip and is coaching for the Independent Maryland Blue Crabs. Older brother Shane recently was moved up to Triple-A Buffalo by Toronto and is 24.

"I leaned on those guys," Opitz said of his decisions concerning a college choice (Auburn, Arizona State and Mississippi State) and where he would play this summer. "Absolutely, I leaned on my entire family. I've been blessed. They've gone through everything. They're in it for you no matter what."

Said Hormann: "Scouts go and watch (the Redskins) every single day. It's really good for Casey."

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