March 3, 2012
Air Force senior Michael Ceci enters his fourth season with the Falcon baseball team. Ceci took a moment from his busy schedule to answer some questions from C3C Michael DePauw.
For the first time since 1990, Air Force had a winning series against navy. With this fast start to the 2012 season, in your opinion what are some other things the team can do to keep having success?
The series against Navy was awesome and defiantly a confidence booster. A couple of things to keep this going are to keep pitching well. We owe this success to pitching coach Tim Dixon implementing a good system this year. Also, we have had great timely hitting that has led to many runs; especially against Navy, scoring 10 runs in the second game. It's a combination of both offense and defense that will continue to have Air Force baseball winning games.
With this being your last collegiate season and also being one of the "old guys" on the team, did you approach the season differently than in the past?
Unintentionally, it's different to play your last season because a majority of the seniors will not get drafted to play in the next level, so we are playing for the guys and trying to make as many memories as possible. I definitely wanted to give it all I got. We want to create a strong team atmosphere.
With a slot going to grad school after graduation, how do you have enough time for academics while still preforming at a high leave on the mound?
It was tough, but I set my priorities. Coach "Kaz" Kazlausky made it apparent that grades come first. It was tough to balance, but I learned time management early here at the Academy, which helped a lot. Also, for me, grades always came first, and this has worked out for me pretty well so far.
Air Force kicked off the season playing at LSU, can you describe what it was like for your head coach, coach Kaz, to coach against his former Air Force coach, Paul Mainieri? How did the team respond?
It was amazing experience. We were playing in front of about 8,000 people the Friday night and about 5,000 people on Sunday. It was a great atmosphere and coach was really excited. He got introduced during one of the games and got a standing ovation. Also, with coach Kaz being retired military he got all the respect he deserved. The team responded well to the whole experience. We were a little overwhelmed on Friday night, but we settled down and played a lot better on Sunday.
With every team's goal of making it to Omaha every summer, what do you think of the change of making a new baseball stadium, Ameritrade Park, to play the college world series in instead of the famed Rosenblatt stadium?
It's very different. Last time we played Creighton, we watched the building of the new stadium. Two years ago, we played Creighton in Rosenblatt and I actually got to pitch in there. We definitely have a team goal of making it to Omaha, but even before that, our team goal is to win conference. We have not made it to the conference championships in a while, but we need to take baby stapes. If we made it to Omaha it would be a dream come true, but we will cross that bridge when it comes.
Mariano Rivera has the cut fastball, Justin Verlander has a 101 MPH fastball, what is your go to pitch when you are in a jam.
My go to pitch is my changeup. I don't throw it too hard and I am not going to blow it by hitters. My curveball is not best, but I feel very comfortable when I throw my changeup. I have been throwing my changeup since high school, and I feel that I can throw it in any count.