Athlete of the Week Q & A: Matt Hall
Each week, BRSN sits down for a Q & A session with the BRSN Athlete of the Week. This week, we caught up with Athlete of the Week Senior Cornell Baseball catcher Matt Hall following his walk-off double on Wednesday that gave the Big Red a 4-3 victory against Canisius in the last game of the 2015 season.
BRSN: Matt, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. In the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader, you hit a walk-off double to right-center in the seventh inning that brought home both the tying and winning runs. How did it feel to lift the Big Red to victory in this fashion for your final game in a Cornell uniform?
MH: It was an unbelievable feeling to hit a walk-off double in the last game of the season and, not to mention, my last at-bat in a Cornell uniform as well. Walk-off hits don’t come around too often, and the fact that it came in my last at-bat ever was truly the best way that I could ever have wished to end my baseball career.
BRSN: Prior to hitting the two-RBI double, you hadn’t yet registered a hit on the day. How were you able to stick with it and remain confident to deliver in such a big way on your last at-bat?
MH: In baseball, all that matters is your next at-bat. Anything that happened previously in the game, in the game before, or earlier in the season needs to be flushed out of your mind so that you can fully focus all of your attention and energy on the at-bat you have in front of you. I told my teammates that there were only two things going through my head during my final at-bat: 1) Stay out of the double play because you can’t hit into a double play with a man on third with only one out and 2) Put a short hard swing on the ball and don’t get cheated in your last at-bat ever…basically just being aggressive and getting my money’s worth at the plate.
BRSN: What did it mean for you and the rest of the seniors do go out with a win, especially in front of the Big Red fans at Hoy Field?
MH: It meant a lot to us seniors to go out with a win. We had lost the previous game and it would have been brutal to end our careers with them sweeping us at home. With the way the game turned out with the walk-off, I think that game will be one that we will all remember and talk about for the rest of our lives.
BRSN: How do you believe that you have improved as a player throughout your four years with the Big Red? Are there any striking differences that you have noticed in your game between now, as a senior, and your freshman season?
MH: I have improved as a player in a few ways over the past four years here at Cornell. The first thing that has definitely improved is my ability to get over what happened in my previous at-bat before I step up to the plate in my next at-bat. You can ask everyone on my team, I always get very frustrated when I get out, however, by the time my next at-bat rolls around, my mind is clear, and I am ready to go. The second thing that has also improved a lot is my defensive abilities at catcher. When I first came in here, my arm was weak, and I was not the best receiver or blocker in the world. Today, my defense is the best it has ever been, and I always feel extremely confident behind the plate.
BRSN: What were some of your favorite memories or one highlight that really sticks out to you from this season?
MH: My favorite memory of the season was when all of the alumni from the previous four or five years of Cornell baseball came to watch us play Yale and Brown at home. We ended up taking three out of four games that weekend with them watching, so that was a very special weekend. There was no one highlight that stuck out to me this season, however, catching Brian Mcafee every week was awesome. He is a great pitcher and was at the top of his game for pretty much every start this season, and it is always a ton of fun to catch a pitcher who is dealing how he was.
BRSN: What are some of your interests outside of baseball?
MH: Outside of baseball, I enjoy golfing and going to the beach. I will be going back to San Diego after I graduate, so there will be a lot of beach days in my near future.
BRSN: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you that you would like to share with fans of Cornell and, more specifically, Big Red Baseball?
MH: One thing that most people outside of my friends don’t know about me is that I am actually a very good golfer. I have around a 4 handicap at this moment in time, which has gone up from a scratch handicap when I was a freshman in high school. I actually had to choose between baseball and golf in high school because they were in the same season and I went with baseball because I have always loved the game and playing a team sport was the way to go for me.