Rob interviews Sean Renzi a neighbor of his for over 15+ years and a former classmate at Plainfield North High school. We dive into topics such as the Clash at Comerica, pitching factory, Sean's arsenal and future plans for after graduation for Sean.
HB: Can you give me a little background on yourself?
Sean Renzi: I'm originally from Plainfield, Illinois. Currently I am a fifth year senior on the Central Michigan University baseball team.
Tell me about the game against Michigan State at Comerica Park What are your thoughts on the game? Being able to play in a Major League stadium vs. a Big Ten school?
The Clash at Comerica is a really cool experience, we are very fortunate to have an opportunity to play a game in a Major league stadium every year. It is a game every year that both teams are always geared up for and it has a little extra buzz because of the atmosphere.
Why is Central Michigan playing at Comerica? How long has Central Michigan been doing it? What's the expected turnout? How do the players feel about play there?
Our athletic director Dave Heeke organized the Clash at Comerica as a yearly game where we would play MSU in Detroit. It started in 2011 the year before I arrived at Central Michigan. This year will be the Sixth Clash at Comerica. Hopefully, this will be a game that continues in the future as it is a game that generates extra excitement for the program.
Can you tell me about "The Pitching Factory"?
The pitching factory is a hash tag that our coaches use, basically it is a way to promote some of the good things we have going with our pitching staff. Coach Opalewski uses it for current and former players really anytime someone from the program is keeping up success started at what he has coined the pitching factory.
What's your pitching arsenal? What pitches do you throw and where do you sit on the radar gun with the pitches? Can you give us depth on the pitches you throw and how you learned to throw them?
I keep it pretty simple I throw a fastball, curve, and change up. My fastball generally sits around 90. As for learning pitches, throw the fastball the same way as I did when I first learned how to pitch, which has been a two seam fastball since I was 7 years old. My change up I learned a new grip the fall of my freshman year at Central and I have been throwing that ever since, it has also become my favorite off speed pitch. Lastly, for my curve I just use a very traditional grip and I have been throwing it since high school.
Are there certain pitches that the school focuses on that they want you to throw or certain pitches in counts to certain hitters?
This really depends on each player on an individual basis. It depends on the strengths of the pitcher. Certain pitchers have better off speed pitches, while others have better fastballs. So when we throw different pitches depends on our strengths as a pitcher as well as the game plan we set up that lays out how we feel most confident to pitch to hitters to get them out. Coach Opalewski also works closely with us to look at the swings hitters take so we can make informed choices on how to get hitters out.
Favorite high school baseball memory?
Winning the conference championship back-to-back years and going undefeated for one of them.
How did the recruiting process go and why did you choose Central Michigan?
I was recruited by a few different schools, but I choose Central Michigan because of how comfortable I felt here. The coaches, facilities, and class options of different majors made Central for me a place I knew I could be successful.
Can you give insight on being a student-athlete?
Being a successful student athlete really starts with time management. Having both class and athletic commitments can be very time consuming. Once we start traveling we might have to miss some classes to be at the games, so it is very important to find time to finish all the school work so you can have the opportunity to go out on the field and compete. As for the athletic portion being a student athlete gives you a great opportunity to play high level athletics and compete against some of the best talent in your sport. For me the past few years have been a great experience and I am very fortunate to have had this opportunity to keep playing baseball at this level.
What's your best memory at Central Michigan?
Last year when we won the MAC regular season championship. We ended up celebrating in the hotel pool in full uniforms, it was pretty awesome.
What are your plans after Central Michigan do you plan on pursing baseball or a career in what you studied?
I definitely would like to pursue a career in baseball it has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. If given the opportunity to play professional baseball I would love to give it a shot and see where it takes me.
Players you idolized as a kid?
As a young kid I loved watching Kerry Wood, he was my absolute favorite. He was just so fun to watch, you never knew if he was going to do something amazing. I also really enjoyed learning about Sandy Koufax. I had lots of books about him and I was always looking him up and reading stories about him.