Moeller realizes dream

San Benito High catcher Zack Moeller, seen here with teammate Andrew Breen last season, recently gave a verbal commitment to play at the University of Utah.

Ever since Zack Moeller understood the concept of Division I baseball, he’s dreamed of playing at that level.
The San Benito High senior catcher won’t have to dream any longer after he gave a verbal commitment to play for the University of Utah on Sept. 20 (Moeller can sign his official letter of intent on Nov. 12).
In Moeller’s case, reality turned out to be better than a dream.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play Division I baseball,” said Moeller, who led all San Benito starters last year with five home runs and eight doubles while ranking second in on-base percentage (.456), slugging (.657) and OPS (1.114). “I kind of hoped it would happen, but I didn’t expect it to happen until maybe a couple of years ago.”
Moeller also had an offer from UC-Davis, but as far as college decisions go, this was an easy one. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Moeller had previously been to Utah before he attended one of the team’s camps a couple of weeks ago.
The Utes play their home games at the stadium of the Salt Lake Bees, the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. And that’s exactly where Moeller was playing when Utah associate head coach Jason Hawkins told Moeller to get his dad during the middle of a game.
“We went underneath the clubhouse, sat down and they told me they were offering me a scholarship to play for them,” Moeller said. “He (Hawkins) told me before I went to Salt Lake City that he was going to offer me, so when he told me to get my dad, I got pretty excited.”
One day later, Moeller gave Utah a verbal commitment, and his dream had become reality. Moeller has been a catcher since he started playing in Little League, and he started receiving interest from four-year schools a couple of years ago.
His standout junior season, along with his strong showing at camps and showcases playing for Trosky Baseball, put his name on the radar for a number of Division I coaches.
“(From my conversations with coach Hawkins) they needed a catcher, and my name popped up,” Moeller said. “I wanted to get out of California for college, and I kind of had it in my mind that Utah would be a nice place to play. The Pac-12 has some of the best teams and players in the country, and Salt Lake City is a really beautiful place. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.”
Moeller credits San Benito assistant coach Angelo Loomis—a former Chico State catcher—for helping him develop all of the requisite skills needed to gain the attention of Division I schools.
“Undoubtedly, he’s the one who has helped me most on how to play the position, but even hitting as well,” Moeller said. “He’ll work with me and (backup catcher) Caleb Menez until we’re freaking dead. He works us really hard, and it made us so much better throughout last season. I never went into a game thinking, ‘Dang, am I ready?’ Coach Loomis made sure we were more than ready. But he didn’t just teach us how to be a good catcher—he taught us the mental aspect of the game as well.”
Moeller has a howitzer for an arm; last year he gunned down at least a half-dozen runners trying to steal base, a testament to the pitchers’ quick delivery to the plate and Moeller’s accurate and fast throws.
Moeller’s best individual highlight came when he delivered a walk-off home run leading off the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Balers a thrilling 4-3 win over Serra in the opening round of last year’s Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs.
He’s planning on creating plenty of more memorable moments in the upcoming 2015 season. For now, though, Moeller is still on Cloud Nine. When he called his mom, Heather, to let her know he had given Utah a verbal commitment, it represented a dream realized.
“She knew it was my dream,” Moeller said. “To finally be able to talk to her that it was happening was pretty cool.”

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