Matthew Nishimura PZ ’24 squats behind the pitcher’s mound, staring intently into the batter’s box. The pitcher, a high schooler, delivers a fastball that catches the batter looking. Nishimura delivers a decisive shout — “You’re out!” — ringing up the batter and drawing the inning to a close.
Four years ago, Nishimura was standing in that very same batter’s box, having traveled from Hawaii with friends for a chance to show Pomona-Pitzer (P-P) coaches what he could do for the team at the P-P Baseball Camp.
P-P baseball, led by head coach Frank Pericolosi, has been running camps since 2012, allowing students interested in showcasing their skills to meet coaches, compete against other players and understand the culture of the P-P team. These camps allow players to run through a full pro-style workout, a combine test, batting practice and a live game.
“Last year was a big number for us,” Pericolosi said. “We [added] about five or six guys from our camps.”
Players who have participated in the Sagehens’ camps often return to help the new class of recruits get a feel for the P-P baseball program. As one such player, Nishimura described taking speed measurements for pitchers, recording statistics, running various drills and coordinating workouts.
“It’s really interesting being on this side as a player,” Nishimura said. “Back [when I came to camp], I was scared to play in front of Coach Pericolosi … [Now] getting to be right behind them, talking in their ears … I totally love doing that.”
The camp also allows pitchers to spend time in small groups with the Sagehens’ pitching coach, Jacob Staub, allowing them to showcase their mechanics and pitch mix while building a relationship with prospective coaches.
Noah Pershing PZ ’27 made the trip from the District of Columbia metro area for the August iteration of the camp, hoping to walk-on to the team this season. Despite not making the team, Pershing was happy with the experience and opportunities that came with it.
“One thing that I thought was very meaningful was that every player had a quick opportunity to have a chat with Coach Pericolosi,” Pershing said. “It was a lot of positive feedback, and I really enjoyed the opportunity.”