Billy Begala

Senior Bobby Barker tosses the ball with a partner during baseball practice on Wednesday. The tight-knit and competitive Texas club baseball team is looking forward to a successful season.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Carpenter | Daily Texan Staff

Billy Begala, a Virginia native and Plan II freshman, has loved playing baseball ever since he could walk, and he now continues to pursue that passion on UT’s club baseball team. 

His older brother’s first two words were bat and ball, which made it no surprise when Begala decided to follow suit and spend his youth on the baseball diamond.

Begala, who has been playing organized baseball since he was 5, had options to play at smaller schools on scholarship. He decided, however, to come to Texas, citing the more rigorous academic curriculum and a chance to push himself to become the best baseball player he could be as
motivating factors.

He found more here than he could have anticipated.

“I know that all my teammates care just as deeply about the game as I do, and they’ve all put in just as much hard work as I have,” Begala said.

Begala’s preparation on game day begins by arriving to the field a little over an hour before first pitch. As a pitcher, he has pre-game plans that differ depending on which role he will fill that day.

“If I’m the starting pitcher, I usually don’t talk much, and I’ll start warming up to pitch about 20–25 minutes before the game starts,” Begala said. “I try to time it so my last warm up pitch is no more than five minutes before my first live pitch. If I’m in relief, I’ll do some light tossing or just try and help any of the other guys get loose and warm.”

Begala said the final few minutes before game time have a looser, but still competitive, atmosphere.

“This is a pretty relaxed group of guys on this team,” Begala said. “Before our games, guys are usually joking around or playing music. But, once the game starts, we’re all about winning.”

That competitive spirit has anchored this team’s success.

The club team made it to the National Club Baseball Association World Series last summer, and, while that stay was short, the continuing influx of talent and wealth of veteran players make this an intriguing group moving forward.

For Begala, a rematch with Texas A&M, which the team played into a series split last time they met, and the World Series are the main attractions on the horizon.

“I can’t wait until we play A&M again,” Begala said. “After that, it’s on to regionals in Dallas and, hopefully, the World Series in Kentucky.”

Begala, who has pitched 9.2 innings with four strikeouts this season, also has plans to try out for the Longhorns varsity team — something he says has been a dream of his for a very long time.

“If I’m able to get a little bigger and stronger and start throwing a little harder, I would definitely try out,” Begala said.

While personal success is nice, Begala remains adamant that the team concept is most important to him.

“The way I see it, I have nothing to lose when trying-out for the varsity team,” Begala said. “Worst-case scenario: I’m back to where I am now, which is playing baseball at my dream school with my best friends.”