While rain drizzled outside Tuesday afternoon, Austin High’s Riley Camp waited near second base during practice in the mock diamond set up in Joe Jones Gymnasium.
Camp stared intently while plays were called, and balls were pitched simultaneously, studying the season’s new lineup.
Camp has been an Austin starter since last season, but began pitching for the Black Bears his freshman year. Now a junior, he’s already had standout performances, giving Austin the 6-0 win over Ardmore on Saturday with 10 strikeouts in five innings.
Calm and collected, Camp took a moment away from practice for 10 questions with Decatur Daily Sports Writer Meredith Qualls:
Question: When did you start playing baseball?
Answer: I was probably 5.
Q: Who taught you how to play?
A: Growing up, I learned a lot from my brother, Justin, who now plays at Auburn, and my dad, Jeff.
Q: Did you ever get to play on the same team as your brother?
A: I played one year, when I was in ninth grade and he was in 12th. It was really strange. The first time I pitched, he was playing first base. It was really weird. He coached me a lot that game, because I was really nervous. He coached me through the whole game.
Q: You wear jersey No. 2. Any particular reason why?
A: Growing up, I loved Derek Jeter (New York Yankees shortstop), and that’s who I tried to be like as I grew up. I’ve always tried to get that number, but through high school it’s been hard.
Q: So I take it you’re a Yankees fan?
A: I am. Big Yankees fan.
Q: If you had an extra $50 to spend at the mall, what would you do with it?
A: Probably buy some new batting gloves. Mine have a hole in them, so I need some new ones.
Q: Is there any other sport you haven’t tried that looks fun?
A: Growing up, I played basketball and in middle school I played football. It just wasn’t for me.
Q: It’s your junior year — is there anything you’ve focused on this season?
A: Right now I’m just pitching and playing shortstop. On the mound, just hitting spots, and in the shortstop being the leader on the team. That’s the leading position, so I have to be the leader out there.
Q: Who on the team helps keep the team relaxed?
A: Terry Sibley, our left fielder, is probably our funniest guy. If we’re losing, he’s going to be there getting us up. If somebody makes an error, he’s going to be the first person there picking you up because he’s just a loose guy. That’s just how he is.
Q: You’re only 16 years old. Who taught you how to drive?
A: My mom. I drove with her a lot. Growing up I rode four wheelers all the time, so driving came easily for me.