Born into baseball, Hoskins finds success on the diamond

State Hornet Staff

Sacramento State standout junior first baseman Rhys Hoskins may not be very vocal, but he lets his bat to do the talking when he is at the plate.

He has been around baseball for as long as he can remember, after his father, Paul, introduced him to the sport.

“I think I had a bat in my hand as soon as I could start walking,” Hoskins said. “My father grew up a Willie Mays fan, so anytime he was watching the Giants game, I was in his lap watching. That’s where it all started.”

At the age of five, Hoskins decided to forgo playing tee ball, choosing to jump into the competitive nature of organized baseball.

“When I was five, I didn’t play tee ball because I was too old,” Hoskins said. “So I just jumped right in and haven’t stopped since.”

Hoskins’ baseball adventure continued as he made his way to grade school, playing for a travel squad up until high school.

“I played travel ball right when the whole travel ball thing started,” Hoskins said. “I played with the same team until high school pretty much.”

After grade school, Hoskins attended Presentation School, a Catholic school in Sacramento, where he became acclimated with a variety of sports.

“I was all about sports, so I was playing basketball and flag football for my middle school team,” Hoskins said. “I had baseball year-round, so it was tiring but it was a lot of fun.”

Hoskins would move on to Jesuit High School, an all-boys school where Hoskins would thrive on the diamond, thanks to the competitive athletics program.

“Everything was so much more intense there,” Hoskins said. “It made the experience of playing a lot more fun.”

However, during Hoskins’ sophomore year, tragedy struck as his mother, who had been battling cancer for quite some time, passed away.

“She had battled cancer her whole life,” Hoskins said. “It was a lot harder on my sister so I had to play a comforting figure to her.”

As he dealt with the loss of his mother, Hoskins continued to produce on the field during his sophomore season. He helped propel the Marauders to a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title.

Hoskins would not slow down as in his junior season he finished with a .441 batting average, and in his senior year, tallied a .304 batting average while knocking in 22 runs.

Hoskins’ power and bat speed caught the eye of a local college baseball coach, Sac State’s Reggie Christiansen.

“It was the summer of his junior year that we had the chance to see quite a bit of him,” Christiansen said. “He had power, and even back then he was a strong physical kid.”

Christiansen was so impressed with Hoskins that the decision to offer him a scholarship was one that he did not ponder for too long.

“We made the decision to make an offer to him, and it worked out”, Christiansen said.

Sac State would be the only school to offer Hoskins a scholarship opportunity, something for which Hoskins is very grateful.

“It was the only place that had a scholarship opportunity to play baseball, and that was my dream,” Hoskins said. “During the recruiting process, I fell in love with the coaches here. It worked out well and I couldn’t be happier.”

The Hornets’ baseball program would be happy as well as Hoskins finished his freshman campaign as the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, as well as the first consensus freshman All-American in the school’s history.

Hoskins’ freshman season saw him leading the team with a .353 batting average, 10 home runs and 53 RBI.

Christiansen said the progression Hoskins has displayed since his freshman year has been astounding, and expects his star player to do big things in the future.

“He’s gotten stronger and become a better baseball player,” Christiansen said. “He understands the game a lot better and I think that his best is going to be ahead of him in professional baseball.”