Heading into the Area Code Games tryouts in early July, Grant Weiss’ objective was to get noticed by college coaches. The Valencia baseball senior-to-be was ready to have the pressure of choosing a school lifted so he could focus on having a successful senior year.
Weiss, a catcher, ended up a little ahead of schedule. He made the decision to commit to Loyola Marymount University on Wednesday, July 17 and announcing his commitment the following day, the final day of Area Code Games tryouts.
“The coaches from the beginning were really invested in me and I saw the facilities and their hands-on work, how I would be able to develop as a player at their school in their program,” Weiss said. “I feel like it’s not about how big the school is, LMU is a pretty small school and … I just feel like wherever I’m going to develop best is best for me and LMU is best for that.”
Weiss also said that LMU’s academics also drew him to the school and although he has yet to decide on a major, he may take advantage of LMU’s film program.
LMU reached out to Weiss on the first day of the Area Code Games tryouts, then he went for a visit on July 16. The process unfolded quickly, but Weiss said his confidence in the coaching staff was what made him confident enough to make a decision.
Nathan Choate, who was named head coach in June, was formerly a pitching coach for the Lions. He brought on two assistant coaches who were catchers during their playing careers.
“They played for a while and with their experience, I feel like I’ll be able to blossom as a player,” Weiss said.
Former West Ranch pitcher Alex Burge will be a sophomore for the Lions this season and is someone Weiss sought advice from when making his decision.
Weiss is excited about the opportunity to continue his career as a catcher, a position he began taking seriously at age 12, at the college level.
He started to focus on baseball when he was 8 years old and like most youth baseball players, was shuffled around to multiple positions. When he turned 12, he gravitated naturally to catcher.
“I spent the majority of my time behind the dish playing so I gradually got better and better and adopted my new home behind the plate,” he said. “I love it most because you get to control everything, you get to see the field, every single position, you steal strikes from the umpire and make the audience yell at him. You get to call pitches if the coach trusts you and create that connection with the coaches.”
Weiss said he was able to create strong connections with the Vikings’ 2018 pitchers, Tyler Robitaille, Mitchell Torres and Ryan Kysar. Robitaille finished the season with a 3.07 ERA, Torres with a 1.86 ERA and Kysar with a 1.43 ERA.
The three, along with Weiss, helped Valencia to a Foothill League title and a trip to the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
Weiss is focused on getting another league championship with the Vikings in 2019 but is also beginning to prepare for life with LMU baseball.
“Now the journey starts for how am I going to impact LMU baseball, how am I going to be ready when I become a freshman in a year? That’s me not trying to get better for tomorrow,” Weiss said, “I’m trying to get better for when I arrive at LMU so I can make a difference.”