The 6-foot-5, 210-pound pitcher walks to the mound while clearing his head, preparing to play his favorite position of the sport he loves the most.
No. 27 is now on the mound, with the baseball in his right hand and the mitt in his left. The only goal now is to beat his opponent.
Strike him out.
He winds up and delivers his 88- to 90- mph fastball. A strike.
And another. Then another.
The pitcher is Spring Valley senior Daniel Endsley, 18. Endsley is the second pitcher in the Grizzlies’ starting rotation behind senior pitcher and outfielder Dylan Drachler, an athlete Maxpreps named “the best baseball player in the state of Nevada.”
Being second in the rotation doesn’t mean Endsley’s play is second-tier.
Over the past year, Endsley has drawn interest from Dixie State University, the University of San Diego and, “a couple of D-I (Division I) schools, a bunch of D-II (Division II) and (junior colleges),” he said.
However, the only school to offer Endsley a baseball scholarship was Hawaii Pacific University.
“I always wanted to go to Hawaii,” Endsley said. “The Sea Warriors did good last year and they have a good baseball program.”
The Edmonton, Wash., native started playing baseball at age 4. He moved to Las Vegas when he was 6. He started pitching at 10. At 13, he threw his first no-hitter.
The first baseball game he ever attended was a Seattle Mariners game, but he was too young to remember who played.
“My favorite baseball team is the L.A. Dodgers,” Endsley said. “I spent a lot of time in California when I was younger. Also they’re my dad’s favorite team.”
Endsley wears No. 27 in honor of his favorite Dodgers player, Matt Kemp.
“He always looks like he has fun,” Endsley said. “He brings so much energy and is one of the best in the majors in my opinion. You can tell he plays for the love of the game, not just the money.”
Ever since he started playing, he has dreamt of playing in the major leagues.
Endsley said some major league teams have shown interest in him, including the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres.
Endsley said he hopes to get drafted within the first 20 rounds of the 2013 MLB Draft in June. Depending on his draft stock, he’ll decide whether to play college baseball.
His all-time favorite player is Jackie Robinson, for what he did for baseball.
“He made it possible for all others to play,” Endsley said. “It’s not like they got some random player either, no. He was very good. Even though we was a Dodger, I would have liked him no matter what.”
As a person, Endsley said, “baseball defines Daniel.”
“To me, playing baseball is being with friends and having fun while playing and getting close to people that I never thought I would,” he said.
During Endsley’s freshman year, he knew (then senior) Aaron Blair. Blair is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2013 MLB draft and was a 21st-round pick in high school to the Houston Astros.
Endsley described himself as very outgoing.
“Everyone knows the real me, I have nothing to hide from anyone,” he said.