As a Senior: 2012 (through June 10)
In 58 games, Hambright started 50 and has 34 hits in 153 at bats (.222 batting average). Brett has scored 16 runs, hit 6 doubles and one home run and has 15 RBI. He has a .993 fielding average.
In 34 games played, hit .248 for the Rochester Honkers (25-45) of the Northwoods League with 14 runs scored and two home runs – including a grand slam…in addition, drove in 14 runs and was issued 20 walks.
As a Junior: 2011
Appeared in 30 games, starting 21 behind the plate…started the final nine games of the year at catcher as the Ducks went 7-2…on the year hit .261 (18-for-69), with 11 RBIs, eight runs scored, one double and 10 walks…during the final 14 games of the season as Oregon went 10-3-1, hit .364 (12-for-33), was walked six times, and drove in six runs…season highlights include a 2-for-3 effort in a 7-2 upset at No. 3 Oregon State, driving in a run and scoring a run (05/03)…was a perfect 4-for-4 with a RBI and and run scored in a 10-5 victory over Seattle (05/10)…drove in two runs as Oregon shutout No. 6 Oregon State 6-0 to sweep the series with the Beavers (05/29).
2009 MLB DRAFT
Selected in the 38th round (1,141 overall) by the Colorado Rockies.
PRIOR TO OREGON
Played the 2009 season at Riverside Community College…batted .313, and led the team in hits (56), runs scored (38) and doubles (11)…also added a triple, one home run and six stolen bases…played his freshman season in 2008 at UC Riverside.
2007 MLB DRAFT
Selected in the 34th round (1,040 overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies.
A 2007 graduate of Temescal Canyon High School in Lake Elsinore, Calif…as a senior, helped lead Temescal Canyon to a Southwestern League championship with a league mark of 13-2…finished the season 24-5 overall…was a three-time all-Southwestern League selection…his senior year batted .432, and led the league with 30 RBIs and a .552 on-base percentage…added 22 runs scored, four home runs, three doubles, two triples and a.667 slugging percentage.
Parents are Gary and Dena Hambright…has two brothers, Ryan, a junior on the Oregon baseball team, and Chad…majoring in General Social Science.
DI: What is your background?
BH: We started out in Orange County, and then I actually played hockey instead of baseball, and then we moved to Corona and there was no hockey there, so we switched to baseball and basketball. We moved when I was nine, so I started playing baseball when I was nine.
My dad always liked hockey, and was a promoter of hockey. I loved it growing up, and I was sad to stop. But baseball turned out to be a good decision.
DI: Being a catcher in baseball, did you play goalie
BH: Actually, I was a center in hockey, but ever since I started catching, I mean, baseball has been the love of my life ever since. Catching has been a big part of it…just being a part of every pitch and knowing that you can basically control the game. Catching is a real tough position, but I love it.
DI: When did you begin catching?
BH: Not until my senior year of high school. I always played shortstop and pitcher before that. We didn’t have a catcher my senior year, so I just thought I’d throw it out there that I could probably catch, and it turned out to be a good decision.
DI: What’s your biggest thrill so far catching?
BH: I remember last year the Stanford game in the eighth inning when the guy was rounding third and Aaron Jones threw a strike to home, and I caught it and tagged the guy out and he took me out. We ended up winning the game by one run because of it. That’s probably my biggest thrill.
DI: I assume throwing a runner out trying to steal is
BH: Yeah, I wish people would try to steal more because that’s always fun for me knowing that they’re going to steal and end up throwing them out because they’re trying to snag a base on us. Just throwing them out is a big thrill too.
DI: What choices to play did you have out of
BH: Not too many. I signed early with UCR (University of California at Riverside). I didn’t really get that many looks, and it was a local college, so I wanted to
(Andrew) Checketts (former Ducks’ coach) was on me in high school, and then once he found out I went to a j.c., he knew he could get to me again, and I was right on it.
I mean, playing for coach Horton…I’ve grown up watching his teams play, and I knew that brand of baseball was my kind of baseball.
DI: What have your two years been like here?
BH: It’s been a great experience. This is the time of my life. I know that. I’m not going to get any opportunities to play like this for any teams like coach Horton’s, because pro ball is not really like this. This has been a dream come true playing for coach (Horton).
DI: What do you think the difference is between college and pro ball?
BH: Just the camaraderie. I mean the guys all love each other. We’re tying to go at it like we want to win the national championship.
I know pro ball doesn ‘t get that way until the playoffs, but we’re trying to win every game, and we’re not going to stop from trying to get our goal.
DI: Is there a difference between last year and this year as far as camaraderie?
BH: I think last year, I love all the guys last year too, but it seemed like we had so many more draftees, and this year we’ve been overlooked and had it said that we can’t do things. I think we all came together and decided we needed to prove people wrong and show that we can be one of the best teams in the nation. And we’re going to go about it the same way we’ve been doing it, and hopefully things will work out for us.
DI: You don’t call the pitches, but you still feel like you have some control of the game, right?
BH: Even though I’m not calling pitches, I control how I catch the ball, if it’s going to be a strike or a borderline pitch or settling down our pitchers when they’re racing. It just seems like a big position for our young staff.
DI: What are your highlights from this year?
BH: Well, obviously the last game when we won the regional. I was able to finally put a good swing on a ball and get my first home run of my career here.
I went into the regional in front of our home crowd and that has to be tops on my list.
DI: Please take us through that home run experience…
BH: The count was 3 and 1, and we had a run and hit on, so Ryan was going to run no matter what.
So, I knew I had to put the ball in play, or it was a walk. He was missing in, the entire at bat with fastballs. So, right before the pitch I knew he was throwing a fastball, so I kind of cheated in, stepped in the bucket a little bit, and he threw it right where I was looking (in and low) and that’s usually the pitch I hit out in batting practice.
I can see it in slow motion going back to it. That was exactly where I was looking. Once you try to hit a home run and it finally happens, you kind of get a little antsy and try to do it again, but I was just trying to put a swing on it.
DI: What do you like most and least about catching?
BH: The least about catching is you’re getting beat up the entire game. Not only do you get foul balls knocked off you, you have to squat the entire time. It’s a rough position, but there’s no other position that I’d
What I love about it is that I’m in every pitch. I can’t take a pitch off, even if I have a bad at bat. You don’t really have to hit as a catcher, which is something I don’t have to worry about. I just have to try to catch wins.
All the coaches tell me to just try to catch a win, and don’t worry about what I’m doing at the plate. If anything, it’s a plus if I get a hit, or do anything special.
DI: On that note, how has your hitting been?
BH: I’d say I’ve been coming around lately. I started off terrible. I wasn’t getting my timing right. I couldn’t see pitches well. As of late I’m more relaxed, it’s just been coming along pretty good right now.
DI: Were there any adjustments you made?
BH: Coach “Was” (Mark Wasikowski) told me, “Don’t worry about getting any hits.” And I took that as I’ve been trying to get hits instead of just putting good swings on the ball. Ever since then I’ve been seeing the ball a lot better, and I’m not worried about getting a hit. If I do, that’s great, but I just want to put a good swing on the ball and see what happens.
DI: Coach Horton mentioned that the team rarely misses a workout. How has that attitude
BH: Yeah, we dedicated ourselves to getting better everyday by doing those weights. And how no one was late, that shows a lot of commitment to our guys.
DI: How much time do you spend at college baseball?
BH: It’s a full time job, especially with school and your social life. You have to sacrifice a few things to try to get better. We’re here six, seven, eight hours of the day. It’s a long time and tough, but I enjoy it.
DI: What do you plan on doing after baseball?
BH: I love golf. Golf ‘s been a big part of our family, because my dad’s always been around golf. He was a golf pro. My little brother’s playing golf now. He quit baseball, and that’s working out for him.
I know a lot about golf, and I love playing it, and I think that’s going to be my career choice after baseball.
It’s going to be hard, but my dad is a good teacher, and he’ll help me as much as he can.
DI: What you average drive?
BH: Probably around 310. Last time out I shot a five over, which is not bad for not playing. When I go back home and play home every day, I get about three over, or scratch golf.
Coach Horton’s comments about Brett:
“We’re extremely proud of Brett. As we all saw, his playing time was limited last year behind (Jack) Marder. And for him, that was a tough pill to swallow, because Marder had some issues defensively, and it was a learning curve for catcher. We kept running Jack out there, and occasionally Brett out there, and he had some crummy appearances and he had some
Then he just decided he wanted to be the everyday first- string catcher here. He lost 20 pounds, and with Mitch Karriker’s help, he built on coach Kirby’s fundamentals, shored up some of his inefficiencies, and I think if there’s any one position player that we can point to that’s had a lot to do with the success of our pitching and defense, it’s Brett Hambright.
He’s expanded the strike zone for our pitchers. They trust him. The connection between me calling pitches and the information channel, he’s been excellent on that.
His energy: he’s a guy who tends to run out of energy pretty quickly for a catcher. He’s not an up tempo personality. He’s kind of a grinder…a non-sparky kind of catcher. I’ve had to reach into his energy store quite a bit, especially when Aaron Jones went down, and he’s still been able to lead the team. So, I’m very proud of Brett for that. I hope he continues to play beyond
You look at his numbers, and I think a combination of me picking the right time to pick, our pitchers’ leg times, and his arm strength and accuracy….no stolen bases against us a pretty spectacular number. That means the opposition can’t get that free base and get in scoring position, and that’s a critical part of a college catcher, because the running game is prevalent in
Brett fell into “I want-to-get-drafted-itis” I guess where results were critical, and we’ve had several conversations because he got off to a slow start. He finally matured and bought into our suggestion that he just concentrate on getting zeroes as a defender. We also suggested to him, which we would to anybody who starts off slow statistically, that you look at everyday as opening day, where your batting average is zero, and just take it one day at time.
I think a combination of the two things kind of let him settle in, and made him aware that he could bring other things to the table besides getting hits that allow us to win. Make no mistake about it, even without gaudy offensive numbers, he’s been an important part of our success because of that.