Valencia senior third baseman Steven Gonzalez made a verbal commitment to the University of Southern California baseball team on Sunday night. Gonzalez announced his commitment via Twitter.
“I’m really excited,” Gonzalez said about attending USC in the Fall. “I’m really happy about it.”
He received praise from a myriad of his teammates and the official Valencia Baseball twitter shared his announcement with the world.
“He’s made great leaps since his freshman year,” said Valencia head coach Mike Killinger. “He grew and was able to put on a lot of muscle mass and dedication there. He’s turned into a heck of a player.”
Gonzalez received a preferred walk-on offer from Trojans head coach Jason Gill on Jan. 23 but decided to sit on the offer for a few days. He had a few things he wanted to think about first.
“Over the time I was thinking about it and I decided more and more that was where I want to go for college,” he said.
He had an opportunity to showcase his skills at a Trojan baseball camp at the USC campus on Jan. 19. The purpose of the camp is for high school baseball players to be evaluated by the coaches. From there, they can determine which players will be an asset and make scholarship decisions. Gonzalez presented skills that impressed them.
“They like the tools that I was showing at one of the workouts and think I would be a great factor to their program in the coming years,” said Gonzalez of what Gill told him. “I’m just thankful for the people that have been able to put me in this position to continue my baseball career.”
Gonzalez has not signed his letter of intent yet but plans to do so sometime in February or the first week of March.
“I’m just excited for him,” Killinger said. “It’s a cool thing. A lot of kids grow up dreaming to play for one of the big schools in baseball and he gets that opportunity.”
The Vikings’ third baseman is coming off a hand injury from last season that kept him sidelined most of last season. Despite his injury and sitting out for most of his junior season, he was able to secure his future in baseball.
“It feels great. Definitely a testament to how hard I’ve been working since that injury,” he said. “I’m glad I haven’t let that injury affect my game mentally or physically.”
Now, Gonzalez has his whole senior season ahead of him before he heads to USC in the fall and joins the Trojans in the ballpark next February.
“I’m just excited to see what the year brings. The season’s approaching and I couldn’t be more excited for my senior season,” he said.