Audition tape leads to opening weekend start for California freshman

Austin Lanter

Freshman infielder Thomas Peter didn’t let a lack of interest stop him from advertising himself to the WKU baseball coaches.

Determined to continue his baseball career after high school, Peter thought that the Topper baseball team would be a good fit for him. The California native decided to send a video of himself to the coaching staff at WKU (1-2) to express interest in the program.

After coach Matt Myers flew out to California to watch Peter, he knew the infielder would be a good fit for his team.

“He’s a plus kid,” Myers, a Carmichael, Calif., native said. “His makeup is off the chart. He’s a gym rat, he’s a field rat and a very good academic kid. He really did his homework on us and he’s just a really good fit.”

Peter looked at schools in the south when he was looking to continue his baseball career – he said that he wanted to try something “completely new.” He also said he knew about the “great program” at WKU.

After a visit to Bowling Green, Peter said he was attracted to the program from day one.

“I knew coach Myers was from California and he came over and saw me,” Peter said. “After watching a few games here and seeing the atmosphere and facilities, they’re unbelievable. I was just attracted from day one, just the whole athletic atmosphere at Western and the academics. That’s what really brought me here.”

After a pinch-hit single in last Saturday’s loss against Bowling Green State, Peter found himself in the starting lineup the next day. He ended the opening weekend series with a batting average of .500, going 3-for-6 in two games.

His .500 batting average for the weekend was the highest freshman batting average in the Sun Belt Conference. Peter was the only freshman in the conference to hit above .415 and one of eight freshmen in the Sun Belt to have multiple hits this past weekend.

Senior infielder Blake Crabtree said the early start for Peter should be a huge confidence booster.

“It puts him in there and gets him going,” he said. “Anytime you can have a good weekend and get in there and get after somebody like he did, it’s going to boost your confidence up and gets you ready for the rest of the season.”

Myers said Peter’s confidence is his key.

“He’s a gamer,” he said. “That kid comes to play every day. He’s not afraid to hit. He’s not afraid to hit against anybody you put him against. He’s ready to play. He listens. He applies everything that you ask him. He plays hard and he’s a good player. He’s talented and gives us a great spark.”

Fortunately for Peter, he said the transition from Kentucky to California hasn’t been that bad because of the friends that he has been able to make on the team.

“When I first got here it was tough, not knowing anyone,” he said. “But (senior catcher) Devin Kelly is from California, so it’s not like I was completely alone. Once I met a lot of the guys and made a lot of great friends it was a lot easier.”

Right now, Peter said that the goal for the team is to win a Sun Belt Conference Championship and he is hoping to contribute to that going forward.

Peter and the Toppers will be back in action starting today at 3 p.m. against Central Michigan. Games two and three of the series will be Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Nick Denes Field.