Not satisfied with dominance on the football field and baseball diamond, Spencer Torkelson is going to try his hand at basketball in 2016.
The attempt to give it a go on the hardwood for the Casa Grande Gauchos in his senior year is less a vanity project than the effort of a kid to squeeze as much out of high school as he possibly can.
“It’s high school and you only get four years of it. It’s not like I’m going to be a college basketball player,” he said. “He knows baseball is my number one so I’m always going to come back to him.”
“He” is Casa Grande baseball coach Paul Maytorena, a guy who has had Torkelson’s talents at his disposal for the past three years.
Torkelson, who has earned All-Empire honors in both football in baseball, definitely plays favorites when it comes to his sports.
Torkelson has committed to Arizona State University for the fall of 2017 to play baseball.
“I want to be a big-leaguer. It’s my dream since I can remember picking up a baseball and a bat,” he said. “I work hard every day to become one, and hopefully it pays off one day.”
It’s already paying off.
Torkelson, who will be a senior when school starts in August, was named last week to the Cal-Hi Sports all-state baseball team.
“There are a lot of names on that list I recognize,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for those guys … it was an honor to be named to it.” Another dream, before becoming a big leaguer? Torkelson wants to walk away from his high school career a North Coast Section champ.
“I just want to go out with a bang, have a great year, have a lot of fun, hopefully win NCS — bring it back to Casa Grande,” he said.
Torkelson recalled watching the NCS championship game as an eighth-grader, when Casa had superstars Anthony Bender and Francis Christy. Those Gauchos lost, and Torkelson hasn’t forgotten it.
“Ever since then, I’ve wanted to win an NCS championship,” he said.
Behind Torkelson, Casa Grande may have the goods to do it.
Torkelson has started for the perennially tough Gauchos since his freshman season. A third baseman, he hit .442 last season with a team-leading 25 RBIs for a squad that 21-6 overall and 10-4 in the North Bay League. Casa was ranked No. 1 in the NCS playoffs last spring but lost to Northgate High in the semifinals.
The push for Casa is to “trust the process,” he said.
“To me it means practice hard, play how you practice, don’t take it for granted,” he said.
Maybe that’s why Torkelson is keen to be a three-sport guy this year.
Among guys, many of whom have been playing together since they were 8, Maytorena said Torkelson is an undeniable leader.
“Everyone, they want to work with him, they want to be next to him,” he said.
“He will just do his thing and people will follow along because they see what his results are,” he said. “So they are working out more and eating better. He’s not really ‘Rah, rah look at me.’”