Q&A with St. Joseph's College 2013 Commit, Riley Benner, Tri County HS

PBR: Why did you choose St. Joe’s?

Benner: They have a rich baseball tradition as well as an outstanding academic reputation. They also have an athletic training program, which was a deciding factor.  I also chose St. Joe because of the opportunities for success academically and athletically if I am willing to put in the work. I think SJC will challenge me as a student and as a player, and prepare me for life after college.  There was also a family feel about the campus and the baseball program. Hearing the words "welcome to the Puma family" from numerous current and past Pumas was a great feeling and makes it that much more of an honor to have the opportunity to study and play baseball at St. Joe.  It is also a short drive from home so my family members and other supporters can come and watch me play.

PBR: Were you recruited as a RHP or an infielder? Is there an opportunity to play both?

Benner: Coach O'Dette recruited me to play third base and pitch in a reliever/closer's role. He thinks my strength is at the plate, but also believes I can contribute and improve at both positions.

PBR: Where did St. Joe’s first see you compete?

Benner: It would have been my freshman year. My high school team finishes the regular season each year with a game at St. Joe against Rensselaer.

PBR: What other schools did you consider?

Benner:  The other two of my top three were Huntington University and Judson University.

PBR: What role do the coaches expect you to play during your first year on campus?

Benner: They would like me to work hard and contribute in any way I can to help the team win games.

PBR: What team do you play for in the summer and what was your most memorable experience during summer ball?

Benner: I play for Remington Post 280 in the summer. Last summer was one of the most fun I've had playing baseball. We won like 20 games in a row and won the sectional. Runs like that are fun to be a part of.

PBR: Who has had the biggest impact on you as a baseball player?

Benner: My dad has definitely had the biggest impact on me as a player. I can't believe his arm is still attached after the thousands of pitches he has thrown to me in the past 17 years. I owe a large portion of my hitting success to him after all that he has done for me.

PBR: Heading into your senior year, what are your goals individually and as a team?

Benner:  Individually, I want to contribute as much as I can on the mound, in the field, and at the plate so I can help my team achieve the goal of winning a state championship.

PBR: What were your 2012 stats at Tri County? What were your stats this past summer?

Benner:  I hit .489 during the high school season with 3 hr's, 24 RBIs, and 2 strikeouts in 88 AB's. I was also 4-5 on the mound with 93 k's, 19 BB, and a 2.66 ERA in 55.1 IP.