Cal Waterman excited for baseball future at WSU

Sophomore catcher Cal Waterman catches a breaking ball during the last game of the season.

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

Cal Waterman came to WSU decorated with awards from his high school baseball career.

At Summit High School in Bend, Oregon, Waterman earned a letter all four years on the baseball team. For three seasons, Waterman was the captain of his team, and the Oregonian named him a 5A All-State catcher three times.

During his senior year, Waterman was named Oregon’s 5A State Player of the Year and selected on the All-USA Oregon State Team.

Despite this, the six-foot-three-inch catcher, who now plays for WSU, stays humble.

LUKE HOLLISTER | Daily Evergreen File
Sophomore catcher Cal Waterman goes after a foul bunt on May 27 against Stanford.

“It’s nice to be recognized for all the hard work you put in off the field in the offseason to be at your best and to be the best player you can be,” Waterman said, “but it’s not something I focus on.”

Coached by former MLB players Alan Embree and Richie Sexson, Waterman said he learned as much as he could from the two during high school ball.

“It was an unbelievable experience to play for two guys that have pretty much unlimited baseball knowledge,” Waterman said. “They played baseball at the highest level, at that level all of us aspire to be at someday, so just to be able to pick their brains for three, four years was really unbelievable, and I was really lucky to get that experience.”

After joining the WSU baseball team this past season as a freshman, Waterman was vying for a starting position on the team. However, WSU Head Coach Marty Lees said that the transition from high school to college can be difficult for players to handle.

“Making that transition from high school to college, there can be struggles when you’ve got other things besides baseball, between your studies and your overall routine and trying to get that down,” Lees said.

Waterman admits that the collegiate level is a lot faster, and he immediately noticed a large increase in talent.

“There is a big, big gap in the pitching,” Waterman said. “Guys have two, three, four pitches to get you out with instead of maybe one pitch in high school.”

To get through the uncertainty of his role on the team, Waterman stayed confident in his ability.

“You always want to get the chance to play,” Waterman said. “You have to believe in yourself and know that you’re good enough to be out there and good enough to be on the field.”

One aspect of Waterman’s game caught the eye of Lees and the rest of the coaching staff. The former freshman catcher earned his spot as an everyday player for his defensive skills behind the plate — something Waterman takes great pride in.

“As you get up in the ranks of baseball, now in Division One college baseball, there’s a huge premium on having a good defensive catcher,” Waterman said. “That’s something that I strive to make a strength in my game and will continue to push and make myself the best defensive catcher I can be.”

Waterman said a catcher’s primary duty is defense, with offense coming as a bonus. So, it was a large bonus for the Cougars when Waterman’s bat came around to match his glove in mid-April.

Lees said the program was very fortunate to have such a good group of freshmen like Waterman to build around as he believes they will be a big part of WSU baseball’s future.

Waterman said he’s excited for what’s in store for the program. He said that although this year’s team did some good things, there is a lot to improve on.

“We have a lot of room to grow but I think the sky is the limit,” Waterman said. “We want to be great and we push ourselves to get there. I think that’s something that could really be a reality for us in the next couple years.”

Alongside baseball, Waterman is pursuing a bachelor’s in economics. Getting a degree is important to him, but his dream of being a major league ballplayer takes the forefront. Waterman said he is thankful for all the opportunities the game has given him, and he wants to play baseball for as long as he can.