After spending three years away from baseball, former Carson High athlete Chance Quilling elected to give the game another try.
Quilling, who started for the Carson High baseball team as a junior before turning to track his senior year, enrolled at Sierra College in Rocklin this past fall and made the squad.
He got a chance to play in his hometown again and in front of some of his CHS friends, but Tuesday’s game didn’t go as he’d hoped. Quilling went hitless and Sierra was roughed up by Western Nevada, 15-6, in a nonleague game.
Quilling said he decided to play this winter, and went to Sierra along with Chase Blueberg, who’s redshirting this year. Quilling had shoulder surgery in early Jan., 2013, and he still wears a brace when he plays.
Through 12 games, Quilling is hitting .260 with two RBI. He enjoyed his best game of the season last week, going 3-for-5 in a 9-4 win over Chabot-Hayward.
“I’m just working on getting better (at the plate),” Quilling said. “I’ve been swinging it better the last couple of weeks though it didn’t show today. It’s fun playing again.”
“He’s been on a little bit of a rollercoaster offensively,” Sierra coach Rob Wilson said. “He started cold in the fall and then got hot. He did the same thing in the spring. He got a couple of hits in that Chabot game, and he is swinging it better.”
Wilson is one of Quilling’s biggest fans. The Sierra coach believes his freshman right fielder has a bright future in the game, and could certainly play at the next level.
“He has all the physical tools,” Wilson said. “He has Major League potential, and I keep telling him that all the time. We work a lot on the mental part of the game.”
Translation. Failure comes often in baseball, two out of every three-at-bats even for the great players. Wilson wants Qulling to have a short memory when he makes an out. Learn from each at-bat, and that each at-bat is starting fresh.
Wilson said arm strength is the last thing that comes back when you’re away from the game as long as Quilling is.
“His arm is getting a lot stronger,” Wilson said.
Quilling had three putouts in right field.