Impact Baseball decided to travel out to Crest High School located in Shelby, North Carolina for this edition of "Under The Gun" with the sophomore infield trio for the Chargers. Ben Canipe, Bradley Keller and Matt Bridges all saw action in the infield in their freshman campaign at Crest which hopes to help them excel in the 2013 season. These three sophomores are phenomenal athletes that bring alot to the diamond for the 3A Crest Chargers.
(Pictured Left to Right: Ben Canipe, Matt Bridges, Bradley Kellery)
Name: Ben Canipe
High School: Crest High School
College Commitment: Uncommitted
Name: Bradley Keller
High School: Crest Sr. High School
College Commitment: Undecided
Name: Matt Bridges
High School: Crest High School
College Commitment: Uncommitted
How is the season looking? What’s your prediction?
Ben- This season is looking pretty good. We have a lot of returning players. I expect us to compete for our conference title and go to the playoffs.
Bradley- We have worked extremely hard. We should be able to compete for the conference championship this season.
Matt- Our team is going to be very competitive and surprise a lot of people this year. I feel like we have a good shot to win the conference and make a deep run into the 3A playoffs.
What are the strengths of your club?
Ben- We have a very strong pitching staff and a solid hitting club. We have six returning seniors, we should be able to play solid defense. We also have a great coaching staff.
Bradley- I would say one of our strengths are we can all swing the stick.
Matt- We have a very strong bullpen and a great ability to play on the defensive side of the baseball. If we can get our bats going, we will be tough to beat.
What parts of your game did you focus on this past off-season?
Ben- I worked on getting stronger and faster over the winter. I also worked on pitching mechanics and velocity.
Bradley- I have worked on getting stronger and improving my swing.
Matt- I spent a lot of time in the gym working on my strength and conditioning. I have also been in the cage a lot working on my swing.
What are your personal goals for this season?
Ben- I hope to help my team to win the conference and have a good run in the playoffs. I personally hope to make all-conference.
Bradley- My personal goals are to make all-conference and continue to improve on my speed, power and fielding.
Matt- Personally, I expect to contribute to the overall success of the team by doing my part! That means being consistent offensively and defensively.
What are some of the games on your schedule that look exciting?
Ben- Crest vs. Shelby is always exciting because of our intense rivalry. I also think Crest vs. South Point will be exciting. South Point is always a very strong club.
Bradley- We play our rival Shelby High School, they will be a very strong team. South Point is picked to win their conference and they are always a powerhouse and it should be no different this year as they return most of their team.
Matt- The best games on the schedule are our country rival games with Shelby. Our conference rival South Point should be a good test for us because they are loaded every year and will be great competition for us.
What should fans expect coming to watch Crest play this season?
Ben- Fans should expect to see good baseball.
Bradley- They will see a team that wins with pitching and defense. Our pitchers locate very well and if we play solid defense, it will give us a good shot to win a lot of games.
Matt- Fans should expect to see a scrappy club that plays with a lot of heart and passion. It will be a exciting year around Charger baseball.
Looks, like I have most of the infield covered in this article fellas except for the First baseman You guys have been playing together a long time and are very familiar with one another. What has it been like playing with one another for most of your life?
Ben- We have been playing together since t- ball. The first day my dad and I walked up to the t-ball field, Matt and Bradley were there with their dads. We have been together pretty much ever since. We know each other really well both on and off the field.
Bradley- It has been great! We started playing t-ball together and have been best friends ever since.
Matt- It has turned into a great advantage when it comes to playing together in high school. We have great chemistry on and off the field. It’s very easy to turn great plays when you have practically played with each other your whole life.
Describe your other two teammates and what they bring to the diamond?
Ben- Bradley brings speed to the bases and a very good bat to the lineup. Matt is a really good defensive player. Both work really hard and have a good feel for the game. I am always comfortable with them on each side of me.
Bradley- Ben is a solid pitcher, every time he is on the rubber he gives us a chance to win. Matt is a very good athlete that can play multiple positions and brings a lot to our team.
Matt- Bradley is a natural leader with an incredible bat, glove and lighting speed. Ben has tremendous arm action and can pitch in any situation. He also shows some flash with the leather.
Who's Crest biggest rivalry?
Ben, Bradley, Matt- Shelby High School! No doubt!!
Crest has a very good men's athletic program from football, basketball, soccer and baseball. What would you say the keys to that are?
Ben- The keys are having great athletes and coaches.
Bradley- The athletes at Crest just love to compete! We have extremely gifted athletes and great coaching.
Matt- Our hard work and determination on and off the field are the two determining factors in our athletic program. Not to mention, to have a great athletic program you have to have two aspects; good players and good coaches. We have both here at Crest High School.
What's one fact most people don't know about your other two teammates?
Ben-Bradley is really into guns. People think Matt is quiet but believe me...he is not around us!
Bradley- Ben is a quiet guy, who loves to play jokes on other people. Matt loves to play the drums.
Matt- Ben is a practical joker and likes to make everyone laugh. Bradley is a sharpshooter and loves to hunt anytime he can.
What are your plans this summer?
Ben- My plans for the summer are to have a great season with the Dirtbags and bring home many championships.
Bradley- My summer plans are to play for the Dirtbags again with the best players in North Carolina and continue to develop my game.
Matt- I am extremely excited to join the Dirtbag club and play with some great players and get around the Dirtbag family.
What are your hobbies outside of baseball?
Ben- Golf and hanging out with friends
Bradley- Hunting, shooting my guns and being around my friends.
Matt- I like to go to the local YMCA and work out and play basketball. I also enjoy swimming, golfing, hunting and putting new accessories on my truck.
What's your favorite movie?
Bradley- Smokey and the Bandit
Matt- The remake of “Red Dawn”
Who's your favorite MLB team?
Ben- NY Yankees
Bradley- The Braves!
Matt- Atlanta Braves, no question about it!
Who's your favorite actor?
Ben- Don't have one
Bradley- Jason Statham
Matt- Will Ferrell
Who's your favorite college basketball team?
Ben- North Carolina Tarheels
Bradley- North Carolina Tarheels
Matt- South Carolina Gamecocks
What's your favorite food?
Bradley- I love food, it doesn’t matter!
Matt- Hibachi Chicken
This section is called "Which Teammate".. (Pick between the three, you can choose yourself)
If you had to make an "A" on a paper, who would you choose?
Matt- Myself, of course.
If you had to play a pick-up basketball game 2 on 2, who would you choose to be your teammate?
Matt- Ben, he can flat out shoot the lights out! Dudes got game!
If the game was on the line and someone had to get a hit, who would you choose?
Matt- Myself, I am very confident in the box.
If anyone of you guys had a chance to talk to the prettiest girl in the school, who would you choose?
Ben- None of us.
Bradley- Easy, myself! Best chance of the three!
Matt- Myself, I already talk to all the pretty girls at Crest!
Who would win a singing contest?
Matt- Bradley, that boy sings all the time in his truck!
Who would win a dancing contest?
Matt- Ben, he thinks he can dance but it’s really quite comical when he “tries” to bust a move.
In a relay race, who would you choose to be your teammate?
Matt- Bradley, he can fly!
If it was the bottom of the 7th base loaded up by one and you were on the bump, who would you want the ball hit to?
Ben- Either one could take it
Bradley- Either, they will both make the plays.
Matt- Anyone of us! We are all three very strong defensive players and want the ball hit to us during a critical moment.
We would like to thank Ben Canipe, Bradley Keller and Matt Bridges for their "Under The Gun" interview here with Impact Baseball. We would like to wish them and the Crest High School Chargers the best of luck this spring..
It's time folks, game week is here starting next Tuesday! We would like to wish all the North Carolina High School baseball players/coaches the best of luck this season...
Still more exciting articles/interviews and the latest news here from Impact Baseball all season long, stay tuned!!