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Chatham, Mass. — This evening, we’re taking five minutes in conversation with outfielder Kyle Baker. Kyle is a rising junior at the University of Delaware, and hails from Hockessin, Delaware. Since arriving on the Cape in late July, he has appeared in five games with the Anglers, compiling a .222 batting average. Kyle recorded a pair of hits and scored two runs in the team’s 4-2 victory over the Falmouth Commodores July 27.
When did you start playing baseball'
Baker: I started playing baseball when I was about four or five, just in the local tee ball league, Piedmont Little League, right in my hometown. That’s where it all started.
You just finished your sophomore year at Delaware. How did you decide to go there — did you think about other schools'
Baker: Yeah, I was thinking about other schools, but Delaware reached out to me pretty early in my high school career, and both my parents went to Delaware. My dad played football at Delaware, and a bunch of other family members had attended Delaware as well, and so I just figured it was a good overall package with academics and athletics — it was kind of a win-win. I got the best of both worlds going to Delaware, so I committed pretty early in my high school career — it was always kind of Delaware for me.
What do you think the biggest difference has been between Cape League and college baseball'
Baker: I would say the biggest difference is the pitching. Every pitcher is really good, and most of the time they’re one of their school’s best, if not one of their top three best pitchers. In a weekend series in college you see the entire staff, but here you’re just seeing the best or one of the best pitchers from every staff, and so I would say that’s the biggest difference. Overall, the competition is a lot better on the Cape — it’s about as good as it gets.
Do you feel like you have made improvements to your technique and execution in your time on the Cape' You arrived late, but has there been anything in particular that you’ve been working on with the coaches'
Baker: Yeah, I definitely have. I mean, I’ve stayed healthy, which is the number one goal, so just gaining confidence that I can play and just come out here and work out every day, that’s been big. But overall, I’ve been working on my arm strength a little bit, and I’ve been working on hitting with coach Jamie (D’Antona). We’ve been working on getting down to the ball, and getting through the ball as well, hitting the ball to right field more. I think I’ve definitely gotten better at that in BP and in the games in the last couple of weeks.
Do you have a favorite major league team and player'
Baker: My favorite major league team is the Phillies, but they’re struggling right now. I would say my favorite major league player is Mookie Betts from the [Red] Sox — I want to be like Mookie Betts, that’s how I want to play baseball. I want to be the kind of player he is.
Do you have a favorite meal or food that you like to eat on game days'
Baker: Every day, at least on game days I like to have eggs for breakfast, with Greek yogurt, some fruit, and then I pretty much just try to have chicken, a lot of protein. Protein’s basically the biggest thing — I eat a lot of meat, and some rice too, just a lot of fruits and vegetables, sometimes a salad. But mostly I just try to drink a lot of water on game days to stay hydrated.
Did you play any other sports growing up'
Baker: I played football when I was younger, but not in high school. I played basketball early in my high school career, but after my sophomore year I just focused mostly on baseball. My junior and senior year, I just played all baseball in the fall, worked out in the winter and played in the spring and summer.
Do you have a regular walkout song at school' If not, what would it be'
Baker: We actually didn’t have walkout songs at my school — we picked them, but then we ended up not using them because it worked well for us, it was a superstitious kind of thing, but mine was Lights Come On by Jason Aldean.
Do you have any pregame rituals or routines that you do to get in the zone'
Baker: Before every game, I like to hit on the tee. It’s kind of my only biggest ritual that I have, I have to do tee work before every game. Before I start hitting, I always start on the tee, so I try to get here early for early work and start on the tee. And then right after I like to do some arm exercises just to keep my shoulder in shape and keep it strong because playing every day, it can get kind of tired. But other than that, I’m not too superstitious, I just try to stick to the same routine every day.
What has been your favorite thing about the Cape this summer'
Baker: Obviously the baseball’s great — the games are fun. Competing against everybody, all these good players is awesome. But just the activities to do outside baseball like go around the town, Main Street’s pretty cool, the lakes are nice, the beaches are pretty nice, so just the whole package of being up on Cape Cod is awesome. There’s so much to do, so it’s going to stink going home in like a week or two — I just realised it today that I’m not going to be up here for that much longer, so [I’m] just trying to make the most of every day.
The Anglers take on the Orleans Firebirds at Eldredge Park, Orleans tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.