EASTHAM — Luke Keaschall recognized his passion for baseball early on.
The 19-year-old infielder from Watsonville, Calif. is playing for the Orleans Firebirds for the second year this summer. Though most days are spent at Eldredge Park, he is living in Eastham with a host family.
Keaschall grew up playing alongside his older brother, Jake, to whom he attributes his passion for the sport. “My brother loved baseball,” says Keaschall. “I learned to love baseball from him.”
The Keaschalls are a ranching family. Luke’s father grew up on a farm in Nebraska surrounded by cattle, pigs, and acres of corn. His mother used to own horses, and his grandparents now live on a ranch near Keaschall’s home in Corralitos, Calif.
For Keaschall, though, baseball has always been the dream. “I’ve known that for a long time,” he says.
He graduated in 2020 from Aptos High School, where he wrestled and played baseball. For the past two years, he has played Division I ball for the University of San Francisco. He was named West Coast Conference Co-Freshman of the Year and First Team All-WCC, earned Freshman All-American Honors, was a key starter throughout his sophomore season, and was listed as the No. 31 MLB Draft prospect for the class of 2023.
This fall, Keaschall will be transferring to Arizona State University, where he will take the field as a Sun Devil and continue to study business.
In the meantime, Keaschall is happy to be back on the Cape this summer as a Firebird.
Last year, he was playing summer ball in Gaithersburg, Md. when he was offered a spot on the Firebirds’ roster. He played 20 games for Orleans, posting a .320 batting average.
“I was just super excited to be here,” Keaschall says. “To be in this environment with these types of players — I was on cloud nine.”
This season he’s the designated hitter, currently posting a .268 batting average. He leads the team with four home runs and 15 RBIs. He was named to the league all-star team.
“Luke plays the game the right way,” says Firebirds Manager Kelly Nicholson. “A high-energy young man who can really hit! He has an extremely bright future ahead of him.”
Keaschall is staying with Robin and Bob Rowe of Eastham this summer, along with teammates Tommy Hopfe of Bakersfield, Calif. and Alex Amalfi of Ashland.
“They take great care of us,” says Keaschall. “They feed us every away game, they’re always there to talk. They’re just great people. I’m very fortunate to be with them.”
He enjoys the family’s private beach access on Eastham’s bay side as well. “I mean, you can’t really beat that,” says Keaschall.
Free time is sparse, however. “We’re at the field from 2 to 10 p.m. almost every day,” says Keaschall. “And that’s for a home game.”
Keaschall likes the home games because of all the fans. “We probably get more than anyone else,” he says.
Of the full schedule, Keaschall says that it’s what he signed up for: “It’s definitely a lot, but I love it because it’s baseball.”
When they aren’t competing, the Firebirds are often involved in community events. Keaschall works baseball clinics at Nauset Middle School twice a week, playing with younger kids and signing the occasional baseball or T-shirt.
“It’s fun,” says Keaschall. “You can see the smiles that it puts on people’s faces. It makes it all worth it.
“There’s just so much about the game that I love that makes me want to keep playing,” says Keaschall. “I want to play baseball forever.”