EASTHAM — Nauset High junior Chase Beach eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball.
“I’m thinking about baseball all the time,” says Beach. “When I wake up, I’m thinking about baseball, and when I go to bed, I’m thinking about the next day and what I must do to be better. It’s all I think about.”
Beach, an Orleans resident, is the ace in the Warriors’ pitching rotation this season and a key cog in the field and at the plate.
The Warriors under first-year Head Coach Doug Mason, who returns to the program having been the junior varsity coach in Beach’s freshman year, lost three starting pitchers to graduation last season. Max Dio, Cam Beer, and Dylan Duarte are gone. So, Nauset has had to reload in search of a third consecutive Cape and Islands Atlantic Division championship.
Beach, a right-hander, is at the forefront of that pursuit.
“He’s so committed,” says teammate and Nauset senior Jack Cronan. “He’s the leader of the team, and when you see him putting in the work like that, yeah, you can get behind that.”
The 17-year-old is putting up some “disgusting” numbers in the weight room to get his body in the right condition for the season. In the off-season, Beach worked hard under instructor Dylan Morris at Lab Baseball in Hyannis, where he targeted new pitching grips and worked on his exit velocity at the plate. He’s currently moving 545 pounds on his trap bar deadlift, and his reverse lunge is at 350 pounds — the weight of a 42-gallon drum of oil.
“I just love the game,” says Beach. “I love getting better and putting up some fun numbers in the gym and on the field.” On his social media feed you can watch him throw a baseball the full 100-yard length of the Nauset football field. “I hope to play in college, so the drive to get there is what keeps me going,” he says.
Watching Beach throw, you can see every inch of movement on the ball. His curveball starts in the zone and by the time it reaches the batter a second later it’s fallen out. Strike!
“He expects a lot,” says senior catcher Dan Deering, one of four catchers on the Nauset roster. “He’s a routine kind of guy — he does it every day. If he’s pitching, you know you have to get locked in and be at your best, because that’s the level he’s going to be at. The professionalism he brings to the team is awesome, especially with the younger guys.”
Beach is throwing about 83 to 85 miles per hour. He’s topped out at just over 86 m.p.h. That gives the batter less than half a second to decide if he’s going to swing or not. Elite hitters have a chance to get a bat on the ball; for the rest, it’s too late.
For a pitcher, it’s all about command. “I had a high walk rate last year, so I’ve been working on getting my pitches into the strike zone more consistently, because it’s not going to help if I’m throwing four balls,” Beach says.
His aim is to be an all-around great player. He’s featured at first base for the Warriors and has shown he can take an opposing pitcher deep. Practice ends on his time. During a recent intersquad scrimmage, he wanted an extra at bat, so they played an extra half-inning. “I don’t want any pitcher being comfortable with me in the box,” he says.
Beach, whose goal is to play in college, is in the perfect place for baseball. The Cape Cod Baseball League is one of the premier summer leagues for college players, and the Warriors play on the same field as the Orleans Firebirds at historic Eldredge Park. “They hold themselves to a different standard,” he says. “Seeing them, it makes you more driven; it makes you work harder.”
Beach doesn’t have to look far for insight on what it takes to get to the next level. His brother, Chris, a Nauset graduate, is currently playing at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I.
“My brother has been a great role model,” Chase says. “He was doing the same thing in high school that I’m doing — just getting after it. Seeing the difference from high school to college, it’s a lot, but I want that. The way they train, the way they eat, and how they rest and recover. It’s more than just being on the field — it’s what you do to prepare to be on it. You see the best players, and they all do it.”
“He also wants to be a leader,” says Coach Mason. “That’s what stands out about him. Wherever he goes, that college coach is going to be happy that he has him on the roster.”
Nauset is looking to improve on its Round of 32 exit in the MIAA Division 2 State Tournament last season. The team opened the season on April 4 against St. John Paul II at McKeon Field.
“I’ll do whatever I need to help the team,” Beach says. “I’m not where I want to be yet, but we’re getting there.”