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October 1, 2013California shortstop Cameron Santos was one of the better under-the-radar players in Northern California. The senior capped his recruitment with a verbal commitment to Chico State.
"First off I really got a comfortable feel when I was driving around the campus and seeing most of the kids. The location is extremely nice with the fact it is just three hours from home so my parents and family can come watch me play," said Santos. "I love their competitive style of play that both [Head] Coach [Dave] Taylor and [Assistant] Coach [Dave] Lessler bring to the table because they set the standard extremely high because of how talented Chico State is. Academically, I think it was also a very nice fit where it wasn't off the charts hard to get into but it just made me feel comfortable academically."
Santos only needed one unofficial visit to Chico State to make his decision. He also held interest from Cal State Northridge, Pacific, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, and Utah, but Chico State was his only offer at the time of his commitment.
The 5-foot-9, 155 pounder was impressive at the Bay Area World Series this summer where he earned the Most Outstanding Defensive Infielder award. He also added a double and three RBIs at the plate.
"I felt like I played very well defensively," said Santos. "I hit the ball hard in every at bat but my defense really showed during that event. I received the Defensive Player Award from Spalding and that really showed me the kind of glove I had and how people really saw that a little guy like me can play the big hole at shortstop."
Santos is an obvious standout with his defensive ability, but is also a good contact hitter with speed. Despite his smaller size, he makes up for it with good instincts and a quick release.
When asked of his strengths, Santos answered, "I think they are all balanced and are all very strong but my glove and range at shortstop are what I believe is my best skill. As an infielder I take ground balls multiple times a week. I just feel so comfortable and so calm when I'm fielding because it is what I love to do. I also am very strong with my speed and ran a 6.69 60 yard dash on my unofficial visit. So these are my two strongest attributes to my game."
On areas to improve, he added, "I am good at putting the ball in play and being a scrappy hitter but with my speed I would like to work on becoming more of a gap to gap hitter. Especially at Chico State's ball park, the ball carries pretty well there and I believe I would contribute most by perfecting the little things and being able to go gap to gap when they need me to."
In the classroom, Santos holds a 3.67 GPA while his favorite subjects are math and sports medicine. He is considering a major in business or construction management.
Last season, Santos held a .343 batting average and stole 22 bases. The Grizzlies finished the season 19-7 with their season ending in a 10-3 loss to James Logan in the North Coast Section Division I quarterfinals. Santos is anxious to improve this year.
"Coming off the disappointing loss to James Logan in the quarterfinals, I know we are eager to get back out there and prove we are a much better team then that," he finished. "We were on a very strong run and then happened to just have our 'off' game at the wrong time and lost. Statistically I had a good season last year but in all categories I would like to improve not because I am a senior and team leader but because I felt last season I went through one of the worst offensive slumps I had ever been in. This year will be our second year of having our new Head Coach Chad Ross and I believe he did a very good job last year but with what he learned from this club is that there is more. We are eager to step foot on the field again and prove why we deserve to put up an NCS banner for our 2013 baseball team. Because of that I am hoping and expecting to not only go to the coliseum but to win it all this year."