The Arizona Wildcats baseball team has done a great job with evaluating local talent in the past. Now the Wildcats have a commitment from another local product.
Michael Hoard, a senior infielder at Salpointe Catholic High School, batted .483 last season as a junior while also driving in 45 runs. He also added eleven home runs and four stolen bases.
Hoard’s impressive numbers may have come without the pressure of trying to impress recruiters as he was already committed to Arizona before heading into the season.
“I committed in the July right after my sophomore year,” Hoard said. “That would have to be the summer of 2011.”
Hoard made the decision quickly and never really thought twice about it. He grew up in Tucson and when the Wildcats came calling, he knew that Tucson was where he wanted to stay and play college baseball.
The early commitment has given him the ability to relax and watch as Arizona won the National Championship last season.
“Everyone asked me why I committed so early,” he said. “They never really understood that I really like the coaches and they’re doing a great job over there. To see them win the National Championship was just that much better. It really excited me to go there even more.
“I’ve lived in Tucson my whole life. I’ve been going to the Cats football, basketball, and baseball games since I was little. The chance to play in front of all my friends and family excited me. It just makes it easier with the college experience.”
Hoard had always had an eye on Arizona baseball, but wasn’t sure that he was going to be good enough to play for his hometown school. It wasn’t until early in his high school career that he realized that his hard work had paid off.
“Going into the recruiting process, I wasn’t really expecting to go to a school like Arizona,” he said. “I was looking at smaller Division One schools out in California at first.
“Coach Lopez saw a couple of my summer games because they were in Tucson and some of the other coaches saw me in a few camps and it went from there.”
The coaches have had plenty of time to talk to the 2013 commit with his early decision. There have been many conversations about where Hoard will fit in with the team and what he can contribute. So far, it seems like both parties already have plans in place.
“The coaches have talked to me about where I’m going to fit in a little bit,” Hoard said. “They said I will probably fit in as a DH my freshman year and that I can get into one of the corner infield spots later on.”
As Hoard has followed the baseball team throughout his childhood, he was slightly disappointed with the move to Hi-Corbett Field last season. However, after seeing the success that the team had in the new ballpark, he has changed his opinion of it.
“I think the switch was great,” Hoard said. “It opens up the fan base a little bit and excited recruits, like me. Hi-Corbett has been turned into a really nice facility.
"The deepness of the fences is going to help when new guys come in and realize that they don’t have to have that high school home run swing. You can just hit line drives into the gaps there.
“It’s disappointing to know that I won’t play at Sancet Field, but it’s invigorating to know that I can help make new history at Hi-Corbett.”