The Wake Forest men’s baseball team is poised for their best season in many years. They have the talent, both at the plate and in the field, to not only compete in the ACC, but also in the NCAA tournament.
The team consists of a number of talented players, but not everyone is familiar with the guys at the end of the bench – or in this case, the end of he bullpen – the walk-ons. We talked to walk-on and life-long Winston-Salem resident, Ben Casstevens.
The R.J. Reynolds High School product played himself onto the team this fall after coming to Wake Forest for purely academic reasons. Casstevens may not get to play many innings this season, if any at all, but you can bet that they’ll be meaningful.
How old were you when you first started playing baseball?
I first started playing baseball when I was four years old. As a kid I loved all sports, but around age 10 or 12 I decided to focus on baseball and started playing on travel teams year-round.
Did you have any offers to play college ball coming out of high school?
I had one offer from a Division II school, Brevard College, and though I had talked to other schools, that was the only offer I had.
Why did you choose to come to Wake Forest?
Wake Forest for me was an easy decision because it was an opportunity to attend my dream school. It was almost impossible to picture myself anywhere else and it was really a combination of the outstanding academics, camraderie of the campus and familiarity with the university that made me want to become a part of the Demon Deacon family. I bleed black and gold.
Why did you attempt to walk on to the baseball team and how difficult was the walk on process?
I approached the walk on process with the attitude that I had nothing to lose. I was chasing a dream of mine that I’ve had since I was a little kid, and my goal was to work as hard as I could, day-in and day-out, to leave an impression on my team and coaches.
Whether it was giving 110 percent during conditioning or lifting sessions or simply carrying the water cooler out to practice every day, I wanted to show how badly I cared about the program and how much I wanted to be a part of it.
What does it mean to you to be playing a Division I, ACC sport for your hometown and dream school?
Playing baseball at Wake Forest is honestly a dream come true.
There is no other program or school in the country that I would rather be a part of, and from time to time I still can’t believe this is all real. My childhood was a never ending cycle of attending Wake Forest sporting events to watch my childhood heroes play. It’s a surreal feeling now to be signing autographs for little kids and putting on a Wake Forest jersey.
I love Winston-Salem and am proud to represent my hometown and all of the amazing aspects of the city that have shaped my life.
How does the team stack up to the rest of the ACC this season? How far do you see them going in the postseason?
It’s no secret that the ACC is the toughest baseball conference in America but there’s no doubt that our team has the components to compete with and beat the best of the best.
We have a great opportunity to dominate in the ACC behind the right arm of Parker Dunshee and big bats of Nate Mondou and Will Craig, and I truly believe that the Deacs are poised to make an NCAA regional and be in the hunt for Omaha.