by editor Rick Cabral

Josh Adams—Working Hard and Winning in the Big West
By Editor, Rick Cabral

(Note, this report was prepared prior to Game One which was won by UC Davis yesterday 6-2)

Blond, blue-eyed Josh Adams is happy to be a Gaucho.

The 6’2” left-hander plays outfield for the #13 ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, who are in town to play UC Davis.



Josh Adams of UC Santa Barbara smashed this pitch for a double yesterday in the 6-2 loss to UC Davis. 

His team is one game out of the top spot in the Big West League, and with its Top 10 RPI, almost assured of a regional playoff spot, pending a complete collapse here at the end of the season.

Adams was steered to the beautiful campus at Santa Barbara principally by its head coach, Andrew Checketts. While in lower division at Pleasant Grove High, Checketts—then the pitching coach at Oregon—recruited Adams. But when Checketts got the head coaching position at Santa Barbara, he lured Adams to join him in building the program. Adams followed. And he’s thrilled he did.

“He told me was going to get good players, and that’s exactly what he got since I’ve been there. It’s been awesome.”

“Going to school in SoCal and living near the beach isn’t half-bad either,” says Adams, who lives two blocks away from blue Pacific and could be a poster boy for the region. “It’s absolutely beautiful.”

“And the academics are just ridiculous.” Adams feels fortunate to have been admitted with his 3.6 HS grade point. “I’m in classes with valedictorians. It’s just an honor to get that opportunity.”

In the fall of his freshman season, Adams says he earned a shot at a starting position. Then he reinjured his left leg, which resulted in surgery to repair his ACL; the same injury he sustained on the gridiron at Pleasant Grove. He took a medical redshirt season, and when he returned last year, the Gauchos were stocked with good players, and Adams had only a handful of at-bats.

UC Santa Barbara won 40 games, earned the right to host its first-ever NCAA Regional, which came with a #1 seed. With two top future draft picks on the hill in Dillon Tate (4th overall, Texas) and Justin Jacome (5th Round, Miami), they looked to advance in the tournament.

But in their first game they found themselves in a battle with San Diego State. With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth, Steven Pallares was dancing off third base. He made several feints at stealing home to distract the pitcher, and then took off and scored what ended up being the winning run. “Watching that from the bench, that was just surreal,” Josh admitted. That sent the Gauchos to the loser’s bracket, where USC dominated the second game and ended their season. Virginia, the #3 seed in the Santa Barbara Regional, advanced through the tournament and won the College World Series.

In 2016, Adams has had an opportunity to play more, and despite 50 fewer at-bats, he’s a co-leader in home runs (4) and tied for second in runs batted in (25). He’s already earned Offensive Player of the Week in the Big West Conference, where he’s happy to be playing. “It’s a big deal, especially to play in a school in SoCal where some of the most prestigious (high school) baseball schools players come from.”

Pre-season prognosticators saw the Gauchos’ youth and predicted they wouldn’t repeat last year’s performance. Checketts is starting five sophomores, including team hitting leader, Austin Bush. Coming into the series at Davis this weekend, Santa Barbara has another 30-win season (its fourth straight). “Our goal is to keep competing, playing hard and shocking a lot of people,” Adams says. “Hopefully this year we get back in regionals and go in and compete since we know what to expect.”

It would be easy to have a letdown, as the Aggies are the doormat in the Big West, and the Gauchos next weekend play conference leader Cal State Fullerton. “The thing about the Big West is anyone can beat you at any time,” Adams notes. “That’s why it’s such a great conference.”

Looking toward the future, Adams hopes he has an opportunity to play professionally. As a redshirt sophomore, he’s got at least one more collegiate season to impress the scouts. But he’s realistic, and already planning a future business career, either as an attorney or perhaps a sports agent.

Asked what one thing he took from Pleasant Grove that has helped him in college, Adams says “(Head coach) Rob Rinaldi preached being a great teammate and hard work. If you work hard, you’ll be successful. And if you’re gifted with talent, that’s even better,” Josh says Rinaldi “probably was one of the best coaches I’ve ever had.”

Adams continues working hard and it’s paying off, as the Gauchos look to repeat in the NCAA Regionals in 2016.



Pregame at UC Davis, Adams recalls his high school coach's emphasis on being
"a great teammate." 

  Uploaded 5/7/16
All contents © Rick Cabral 2016