His coach, his mom or his teammates, it doesn't matter with whom one speaks, they all say about the same thing when it comes to Cottonwood third baseman Kyle Beverley.
"He is a terrific baseball player, but an even better person," said his coach, Jon Hoover. "He does everything you ever ask of him and does it with a smile. He works as hard as any player I have ever coached, and he makes sure that everyone around him is doing everything they need to for us to be successful."
Success has followed Beverley ever since he first stepped on the diamond. Well, maybe not the very first day. His mother, Beth, tells about the first day of little league when Beverley was so nervous that he couldn't keep his morning Cocoa Puffs in his stomach.
"Yes, it's true," admitted Beverley sheepishly. "I used to get very nervous before playing. I was only eight then. I still get nervous on like a championship day, but nothing like it used to be."
All it takes is a look back at last season's playoffs to see it is obvious he has overcome those nerves. All Beverley did in the Colts' state championship run was hit five home runs in five games. In the team's first playoff game he hit two bombs and had seven RBIs. He was so hot at the plate that he hit his way to the 4A tournament MVP.
"He is the type of hitter that once he gets rolling, watch out," Hoover said. "He is pretty consistent, so I wouldn't necessarily call him streaky, but it seems there are times he just gets in a zone and there is nothing a pitcher can do about it. I tell you what, I wouldn't trade him for anybody come May. Give me Kyle in May anytime."
Beverley is used to playing deep into May. In fact, he doesn't know what it is like to walk off at the end of the season with a loss. Since his freshman year, Cottonwood has won a state title in each of the last three years. Although the Colts have struggled more to begin this season than in any of the past years, Beverley is confident that they will be ready for another deep playoff run.
"I haven't lost any hope at all for us," he said. "People see our record and think that we are not going to have a chance, but we all know that we are going to be just fine. We have some things to work out, but it is still early in the season and we know what it takes to get ready."
Beverley has committed to play baseball next year at two-time defending national champion Oregon State. He said it was a very simple decision on his part when the Beavers offered him a chance to join their team.
"Oregon State is a lot like Cottonwood in that they treat it more like a family than just a team," said Beverley. "They work really hard, just like we do, and they really care about you becoming a better person. I always have felt that if you are a better person than you can become a ballplayer too. They don't want people just because they can play baseball. They really help you as a person, and then they demand the best out of you, just like coach Hoover does here."
Beverley admits that baseball is his passion. Most of his time is spent either playing, practicing, conditioning or hanging out with his friends, most of whom are on the team with him.
"I love everything about it," Beverley said of the game. "I love being around the guys, getting close to my teammates. I think that baseball can teach you a lot about everything in life. I am kind of a baseball junkie. If I'm not playing it, I'm still thinking about it."
One thing that Beverley is still adjusting to is the attention he has been getting from his prowess on the field. He is not one to seek out glory for himself, and admitted that it has felt a little bit weird about all the interview requests and the spotlight that has been on him. But even with the notoriety, he has kept his approach the same.
"I saw Tanner (Robles) go through a lot of the media stuff the last two years, so I kind of know what to expect," said Beverley. "I'm still not used to it, but there is one thing I know. You still have to play the game. If you don't go out and back it up on the field, then all the attention in the world is not going to matter."I just want to make sure I have done my very best," he said. "I want to go out knowing that I did everything I possibly could to help my team. If I do that, then I will be satisfied when it is all over."