Baseball Freshman Feature: Niko Lillios
“They all expected a high level of performance because their goal was precisely to prepare their players to play at levels beyond high school. Also, being surrounded by many players throughout high school that aspired to play college baseball created an extremely competitive environment that elevated everyone’s game.”
The 2018 Santa Clara Valley Athletic League MVP gives a specific shoutout to his high school coach, Pete Fukuhara. Lillios thanks him for manufacturing a schedule at a high competition level in order to prepare him for the college game. There is no doubt that Lillios thrived at this level, in his senior year he pitched a 2.71 ERA with Palo Alto High School, and he has a high school career ERA of 2.08.
The walk-on story for Lillios shows his perseverance and determination to be a part of the program. Early fall he emailed coach Pepicelli about the possibility of a walk on, and after months and months of training, coach gave him a shot. Lillios expresses his thanks towards coach Peppicelli for giving him a chance and adding him to the spring roster. To Lillios, it all happened so fast, he recalls training with the team in the fall and “The next thing I knew I was on a plane to play Baylor University for our opening series”.
The team has faced some tough competition during the beginning of this season, but Lillios sees this as an opportunity. He looks to the future and knows that this early exposure to highly competitive teams prepares him and the team for upcoming conference games. When asked what he is most looking forward to, Lillios talked about being able to play and grow alongside his fellow freshman teammates. He adds that the next four years have endless possibilities for him and the team and quote: “the sky is the limit”.