Freshman infielder Jason Zoeller was expected to make a solid impact in the Ohio State lineup this season. The Verona, Pa. native did not fall short of that and has proven his talents. In the fall, Zoeller stepped in at shortstop and got a taste of the fast pace of collegiate baseball. Since then, he has been focused on improving and has been satisfied with his recent progress as a Buckeye.
At the beginning of the season, coach Bob Todd said he was looking for you to be an effective player in the lineup. How did that make you feel?
“I was honored when coach Todd said that about me. It really got me excited for the season to start and gave me an outlook on what he was looking for in me.”
You were pretty involved throughout high school. You played baseball, basketball and football. You had high academic marks and were vice president of your class all four years. Do you consider yourself an over-achiever or do you just like a lot on your plate?
“I don’t know if I am an over-achiever, but I just like to put my hands in a lot of different things. I like to see how things will affect me and make me a better person.”
What was the transition from high school to college like?
“College has a fast pace. When Brett Garrard was hurt in the fall and I had to step in, Brett was right there helping me along and was just like another coach to me. That helped me out a lot because it taught me to be more vocal and it taught me what college baseball was like.”
If you did not play baseball at Ohio State, what activity would you be involved with?
“I think I would get a lot more involved with community service around campus. I headed up a team for the Multiple Sclerosis Walk in Columbus and raised money for that. I wish I could have been more involved with that but I was not able to because of team commitments. I would also want to do more biological and scientific research to expand upon my major.”
How do you feel when you are playing a game? Would you say you are a more calm and relaxed player, or an anxious and fired-up player?
“I am more of a calm player. A lot of the guys get on me about that because I don’t say too much. I think staying calm during a game definitely helps. It is more my style and helps me play better.”
When you first started training at Ohio State did you set a goal for yourself?
“At the start of the season I tried not to set too many goals because I was not sure how things would play out. But I am happy with how I have been playing and how I have progressed.”
Your brother played ball in college. Does baseball run in the family?
“I was brought up swinging the bat since I can remember. My dad loved baseball and along with my brother, they were my two main influences. When my brother went off to play baseball at college (Franklin and Marshall University), it really motivated me to want to play at the collegiate level.”
Being that your family is from Pennsylvania, do they still try to make it to the games?
“My mom and dad come to every home series they can. My dad also tries to come every Wednesday. The drive is three hours, but they still try to make the games.”
What motivates you on a day-to-day basis?
“Goals I have and certain things that I want to achieve in life are what motivate me. That has been motivating me since I was a little kid. I looked up to my brother and he set the example of striving for what you want in life. I definitely have followed in his footsteps.”
Do you look up to any particular teammate?
“When Brett (Garrard) went down in the fall and stepped up as a captain, I really gained a lot of respect for him. He made be feel more comfortable about being a freshman shortstop. It is tough being captain of the infield and commanding other things in the game.”
What do you do in your down time?
“When I am not studying or playing, I really like to write. I write more poetry, but basically I just write to get things off my mind. I have been writing since my freshman year of high school. I try to keep everything I have written just so I can look back to how I was feeling at that time.”
What is with your intro song?
“Besides the fact that Christian Snavely used it last season and I respect him as a player, the Pittsburgh Pirates play it before their home games. I grew up loving the Pirates, so I just tried to bring a little piece of home to Columbus.”
What is the best thing about playing Ohio State baseball and being a part of the team?
“The team itself is the best part. We have a lot of eclectic personalities and to see them come together is a great thing. When I came here in the fall, the upperclassmen were really receptive and I am not sure I was expecting that. They really surprised me and are great guys.”