What is likely the first baseball player from Northpoint Christian School/SBEC to receive a scholarship offer to play Division One baseball became a reality Tuesday afternoon.
Senior pitcher Daniel Casto of the Trojans was joined by a number of friends, coaches and family as he signed his offer to play at the University of Memphis next season.
Casto and coach Zach Miller can’t recall another major college prospect to come from the private school in Southaven.
“I hope our guys see what can be done with dedication and hard work, along with good talent and skill,” Miller said. “Maybe it will push them a little bit, maybe it will put more drive into them that it is possible from a small private school in Mississippi to get a Division One offer and several on top of that. We’re heading in the right direction as far as developing players here.”
Casto, a four-year starter for the Trojans, also had interest from other schools, such as Jacksonville State (Ala.) and from a number of junior colleges, but when Memphis took interest and offered, the issue was settled.
“Playing college baseball has always been a dream since I was a little kid,” Casto said. “Most people don’t have the ability to do that so it’s just a blessing to be able to play at a Division One school like Memphis.”
Casto already had a family connection with Daron Schoenrock’s Tigers program, as his father also played at Memphis during his college career.
DeSoto County has already been an area where the Tigers have taken talent from, as the 2018 roster includes Olive Branch native and senior pitcher Taylor Bobo, junior outfielder Keith Stepter of Hernando and sophomore transfer Landon Kelly, a Southaven native who comes from Austin Peay.
Last year’s team went 30-29 and was 1-2 in the American Athletic Conference postseason tournament.
“I know it’s a really good team, so I want to contribute and help my team win, whatever they need from me,” Casto said. “I’m hoping I can continue on what I did last year, but instead of getting those one-run or two-run losses, I can keep the other team to zero and help my team get a win.”
Miller expects Casto to improve, both in this his senior season and on into the Tigers’ program, adding he currently throws in the 87-89 mile-per-hour range and expects that velocity to get better.
“Since his freshman year, he’s been one of our top pitchers, continuing to get his velocity and speed better each season,” Miller said. “He’s basically built himself as a Division One baseball player since day one. I hope other guys see this as something that can be rewarding in the long done.”
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.