Q and A with 2014 Cincinnati Commit: JT Perez (Orrville HS)

JT Perez, LHP, Orrville HS, Class of 2014

PBR: Why did you choose Cincinnati?

Perez: The campus and facilities at Cincinnati really are outstanding. I liked everything I saw in that aspect. I also really respect the way Coach Neal and the other coaches plan to manage the program in the upcoming years. I felt their passion to build a very good team and they made it clear that they saw me in those plans.

PBR: What other schools were you considering?

Perez: Wright State, Morehead State, Baldwin Wallace, and Heidelberg were other possible choices.

PBR:  Coach Neal was just recently hired as the new coach at UC.  How does it feel to be a part of his first recruiting class? 

Perez: It's truly an honor. I really admire his coaching and morals. He's a very good coach as well as a great person.

PBR:  Coach Neal was a big part of the success at why Indiana went to the College World Series.  How quickly do you think that success can transfer to Bearcat baseball?

Perez: I think he'll make an immediate impact. There's a reason he was brought in to turn this program around, and it's because he is one of the best. He knows what it takes to get a team to Omaha, and I know he expects nothing but that at Cincinnati.

 PBR:  Where did the Coach Neal first see you compete and how did your relationship develop with the rest of the coaching staff?

Perez: He saw me in June at the 2013 Top Prospect Games and was intrigued by my video from the Ohio Fall Unsigned Senior Games. When I met the rest of the coaching staff, I really knew at that point that Cincinnati was the school for me. They all are dedicated to making Cincinnati one of the best teams in the country and are great people as well.

PBR: You recently participated in the Unsigned Senior Showcase.  How did your performance in the event help you with the recruiting process?

Perez: It helped me tremendously. Coach Neal became interested after seeing my video from the event.

PBR: What is your biggest strength as a player and how do you feel that will help UC?

Perez: My biggest strength as a player is probably wanting to be tested in pressure situations. I really try to push myself to be the best on the field. I strive to get the big hit or strikeout in those high-intensity situations. I think that I can help UC win games and get to Omaha.

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

Perez: My father. He has always pushed me to go out and work to be the best I can be. He never says no when I ask him to throw batting practice to me or catch for me when I want to throw. He has always been my hitting coach, pitching coach, and mentor throughout my entire life. I really dedicate my success to him.

PBR: Who do you play for in the summer and what was your most exciting experience playing summer ball?

Perez: I play for the Ohio Outlaws. The most exciting experience playing this summer was playing with most of my high school teammates. All of these guys are personal friends and we've shared memories that will last a lifetime. They are a great group of guys and good ball players as well.

PBR: What were your stats last season for Orrville?

Perez: Last year I batted .325 and hit 3 HR and had 30 RBI. I threw 14 innings and had a 1.29 ERA.

PBR: Who is the toughest hitter you have faced in Ohio?

Perez: I would have to say my high school teammate, Stuart Schley. It's really fun going against him because he's a real competitor and makes me a better player. He'll do great things at West Point.