This may be the last time in a while that Josh Alexander gets a chance play baseball on a typical Arizona spring day.
Alexander has accepted a scholarship to join the University of Utah baseball team in Salt Lake City next season.
“There’s no pressure now,” Alexander said after he and his Mountain Pointe teammates finished a spring break baseball tournament game earlier this week.
“It really takes a lot of pressure off your shoulders not thinking you have to impress someone,” Alexander said. “I can go out and have fun.”
That’s what he has been doing since, as he claims, he could walk.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior took a shot at football when he was a freshman, but a shoulder injury sent him back to baseball.
“I pretty much stuck to baseball ever since, and it’s seemed to have worked out,” he said.
Alexander can play almost everywhere on the diamond but says he is most comfortable in center field where he has been playing for the Pride this season.
“I like center field. I used to play in the infield when I was younger but when I was about 13 I just sort of got thrown into the outfield, and I’ve played there ever since.”
Mountain Pointe’s coaching staff also uses Alexander on the mound.
“He’s stepped up for us this year,” Pride coach Brandon Buck said. “He’s a closer for us, too, and I think he has something like three wins in four innings. It’s a new role he took over for us, and one he’ll be doing more of this season.”
Alexander can also swing a powerful bat, but he says everyone on the Pride team is doing that this season.
“Overall, this is probably the best hitting team I’ve been on since I’ve been here,” he said. “We have guys who can swing for power as well as average, so we’re pretty good all around.”
Alexander is one of a dozen seniors on the team this season, and Buck said he has taken to the leadership role.
“He’s gotten a lot better every day,” the coach said. “He’s a lot stronger, and he understands his game and role, leadership-wise.”
Since the recruiting pressure has been lifted, Alexander is also calmer at the plate, Buck added.
“Baseball is a frustrating game, but he doesn’t let it get the most of him,” Buck said, “I’ve noticed that he controls himself and does what he needs to do.”
The Pride have been in some close games this season, but they’ve also had more than their share of runaways, thanks to the bat power.
“We’ve come from behind in tight games. The defense has kept us in a few times,” Alexander said, “but we’ve had some blowouts, too. Those are a lot of fun because it seems like you can hit forever.”
But he’ll have to do it with gloves this time next season.
The forecast for Salt Lake City today (Friday) was 45 degrees with a 50 percent chance of snow.