Nov. 28, 2007
By Eliav Appelbaum
Brett Hunter has it good.
He goes to a school that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. He gets to play Division I baseball. And he gets to travel the world playing baseball for Team USA.
Yeah, life's pretty swell for Hunter.
The former Moorpark High standout was working out last week with his Pepperdine baseball teammates for fall practice in preparation for his junior year with the Waves.
Hunter, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-handed pitcher, will resume individual workouts before rejoining his teammates in January for the start of a new season.
"Right now, I'm refining everything and getting my arm back in shape," Hunter said. "I'm making sure my mechanics are right."
The 20yearold junior went 65 with a 3.94 earned run average last season for Pepperdine. Hunter, 20, started 14 of 19 games he appeared in, and he finished second on the Waves with 76 strikeouts. Among pitchers with more than one start, Hunter boasted an opponent's batting average of .230, the lowest figure on the team.
Hunter also had a chance to pitch for Team USA in the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in July, and in the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands in August.
Over the summer, Hunter got to play against national teams and former major leaguers from Cuba, Japan, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Brazil, Nicaragua, China, Chinese-Taipei (Taiwan), the Netherlands and Russia.
"It's a great honor to wear USA on your chest," Hunter said. "We got to go out every day and play baseball and represent our country. There's really nothing better."
Hunter didn't allow a single run in the Pan Am Games as the United States earned a silver medal. Hunter had 3 2/3 scoreless innings in the Pan Am Games, and helped Team USA get out of a jam in a 51 win against the Dominican Republic. Hunter entered in the seventh inning with the potential tying run on third base against the Dominicans before inducing an inning-ending strikeout.
"I had an opportunity to be put in big situations, and it was fun to take advantage of them," Hunter said. "It was a great cultural experience. We got to play a lot of Latin teams. It's the same game, but in a way, it's completely different.
"The pace of the game and their mannerisms are different. I don't know what it is exactly, but they go about playing the game differently. They are just good at different things than American ballplayers are. . . . It was fun to play against them."
The former Moorpark Musketeer didn't attend a tryout for Team USA because the Olympic team didn't have time to schedule tryouts and play the games, so the Olympic committee just named a team.
"I'm not even sure (how I made the team)," said Hunter, an advertising major at Pepperdine.
For now, Hunter is focused on the season ahead. And he doesn't care if he starts or comes out of the bullpen.
"I don't really care about going back and forth from closing to starting. I'm happy doing both," Hunter said. "I'll do whatever helps the team out."