Sophomore left fielder Cole Cabrera is leading Cal Poly Baseball with a team-high 10 runs. The Honolulu, Hawai’i native has come in clutch for the Mustangs this season, hitting a walk-off single against Columbia on March 8 and scoring the game-winning run over Baylor on March 16.
Mustang News: What was going through your mind on that play for the walk-off win?
Cole Cabrera: [Blake Wagenseller] hit that triple to set the tone with two outs. I was calm in the box. I was ready for it. 1-0 curveball — I took that and I told myself I was not going to get even. I jumped on the fastball and kept it fair. That got the win for us, and it was a very exciting moment. That was my first walk-off win, and to do it here at home, it was just phenomenal. Seeing all my teammates run out to me was something I will not forget.
MN: How important was it to start that series off with a walk-off win?
CC: It really sets the tone for the whole weekend. It brings excitement into the week. We got a huge four-game sweep against Columbia. I think to have that walk-off set the tone for the rest of the weekend and really elevated our team’s performance throughout the weekend.
MN: We’ve heard your grandma travels to most of the games. How does that make you feel knowing that you have a family member in the stands?
CC: A lot of my family comes and supports me at my games whether it be my mom, dad or grandparents. They are always there for me. It is really cool having familiar faces in the stands, especially your family who has been there your whole life. They have followed me throughout my whole baseball career. I am really blessed that they take their time to come out here and watch me play.
MN: You had a great game last year in Hawai’i. What was it like performing well in your hometown?
CC: That was super cool for me. Going home, seeing all my friends and family, and just to get in there was really cool. I came in at the top of the ninth. That was probably one of the most nervous at-bats in my life. I wanted to get a hit in Hawai’i, and I did. Just growing up and going to the games there as a fan and coming back as a player was special for me and my family.
MN: What are your favorite places to eat in Hawai’i?
CC: I love Shabu Shabu. It is a cook-your-own-meat place. Rainbow Drive-in is also a must.
MN: Besides Oahu, what is your favorite island?
CC: My dad and I took a day trip to Kauai this past winter break. It’s beautiful. I’ve only been there a few times, but it’s beautiful and calm. It’s all country and there’s nothing really going on. Honolulu is big, it’s kind of like the LA of California, you know: The Big City. So Kauai is kind of like an escape. There’s not any big town scenes, it’s just a lot of country, and the people there are really nice — but that’s just the Hawaiian culture.
MN: Do you also feel that way here because SLO is a small town? Is there any difference between SLO and Kauai?
CC: Definitely the weather. I can’t handle this weather. I’m so used to sunshine and 80-degree weather, so the weather is definitely a change of scenery for me. Probably the beach. The beaches in Hawai’i are the beaches in Hawai’i, so. That’s definitely a contrast too when it comes to both places, but I love San Luis Obispo. It is my second home.
MN: So what made you come to Cal Poly?
CC: Going back to wanting to play baseball in college, Cal Poly was really my only option, so I took a visit here and met with Coach Lee and Teddy. I fell in love with the beautiful stadium and the clubhouse. I didn’t really know much about Cal Poly, so I did my research and found out that their education is great – in California where I really wanted to go, and in the Big West so I could go home every other year to Hawai’i. That was a really big part of it. I’m glad I made the decision to come here.
MN: What would you say has been your biggest obstacle so far?
CC: I’ve juggled academics and baseball my whole life pretty well. It does get vigorous at times like finals week and being on the road. Hard classes, hard tests and just some days you come back [from practice] and you don’t want to do homework, so being able to have that motivation to a least crank something out the day after is big.
MN: What has been your favorite moment at Cal Poly so far?
CC: That walk-off was probably my favorite moment. I came in in the last game of the last season against UC Riverside. They put me in in the bottom of the ninth with two outs in left field, and the ball comes to me, and that was super cool. I was out there for two pitches, and I come in and give us the lead to win that game in the last season, so that was also really cool. And also Hawai’i. Probably the walk-off and Hawai’i are my favorite moments here so far.
MN: What is your favorite baseball team, and who is your all-time favorite baseball player?
CC: My favorite baseball team is the Miami Marlins actually. I grew up playing on the community Marlins team, so it kind of just stuck with me. I’d say the Tampa Bay Rays or the Marlins. My favorite baseball player is Kolten Wong. He’s from Hawai’i too, so it’s nice. He’s doing good things for the Cardinals. It’s good to see another Hawai’i boy out there doing what he does.
MN: What is something you want people to know about you?
CC: I like açaí bowls and the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s been my team since I was six. I’m probably the only Bengals fan everyone knows.