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Multi-talented senior leads Reed baseball
by Aaron Retherford
Mar 30, 2009 | 1654 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne - Reed senior Casey Yocom is a four-year starter at shortstop and also pitches for a Raiders squad looking to reach the playoffs.
Tribune/John Byrne - Reed senior Casey Yocom is a four-year starter at shortstop and also pitches for a Raiders squad looking to reach the playoffs.

    Three-tooled baseball players don't come around very often in high school.

    It takes a special player to lead a team with his bat, glove and arm.

    It also takes a unique talent to start on varsity since Day 1 of his freshman year at a historically talented program like Reed.

    But that is exactly what Casey Yocom has done in his four years with the Raiders' baseball squad as the starting shortstop, pitcher and one of the team's leading hitters.

    As someone who has played baseball since he was 3, Yocom did not find it difficult making the transition to varsity without any prior high school baseball experience.

    "There were times where I'd get nervous and didn't want to screw up because they (teammates) might get mad at me, but they were supportive of me," Yocom said.

    Now, in his final year at Reed, Yocom is coming into his own and enjoying the new atmosphere surrounding the team brought on by a new coaching staff.

    "It's been a lot of fun. I like the new coaches a lot," Yocom said. "We work hard, but have fun at the same time. This is the best team atmosphere we've had since I've been here. We're all really close."

    The team camaraderie is helping in the win-loss column.

    Reed is coming off a key three-game sweep in Elko in which Yocom provided big lifts in each of the three wins.

    "As coaches we know once we get to Elko we're at a disadvantage," Reed baseball coach Nick Royle said. "We have the long bus ride and the umpires are from that area. We knew we had to get three games, and to actually get them was huge for us."

    In Game 1, Yocom was one out away from pitching a complete game. He allowed only three hits and two runs in 6 2-3 innings of work, while striking out eight batters. Yocom also doubled twice at the plate to help his cause.

    "After five innings, it was 3-1. For him to consistently get that big out when we needed it, he came up real big for us," Royle said.

    Yocom was on fire in the Saturday doubleheader, going 4-for-5 in both ends of the twin bill to finish the weekend 10-for-15 with six doubles.

    As one of 10 seniors and the only four-year starter on the team, Yocom is expected to be a leader and he's starting to grasp that role.

    "He's starting to come along as a leader. We have nine other seniors who are stepping into those roles, but Casey is becoming one of the leaders," Royle said. "He's a guy I hope the other guys are going to lean on a little bit more as we get deeper into the season. It's always nice to have, especially with what he went through last year."

    Last spring, Yocom was one of the High Desert League's leading hitters but was not nominated to play in the Kelley Baseball Showcase. He said that motivated him to perform well for the Reno Muckdogs 19U Baseball Club during the summer to prove he was good enough to play in the showcase.

    His performances paid off.

    Western Nevada College coaches called Yocom after a summer league game, and he went to Carson City to work out with the team a couple times and eventually was offered a scholarship he gladly accepted.

    "It's always been my dream to play after high school, so I'm real excited about that." Yocom said.

    Reed (8-5, 4-2 HDL) does not have any league clashes this week, but will play a three-game series with Carson. The single game is at the east Sparks school Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

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