By Steve Mims
Toby Twist plans to be a two-way player for as long as he can.
The Bakersfield (Calif.) Christian senior is batting .390 with three home runs this spring while going 6-1 with a 1.51 ERA in 10 starts.
“When you are doing both, you focus on the now and doing what you can in the moment,” the 6-foot-2, 200-pound left-hander said. “The key is staying consistent with your workouts.”
Twist may be able to help the Springfield Drifters on the mound and at the plate when he arrives to play in the West Coast League this summer. The Drifters open their second season on June 2nd against Port Angeles at beautiful Hamlin Field with tickets now available.
Twist plays first base or outfield when he is not pitching.
“I have not talked to anybody about being a two-way guy for the Drifters, but I assume they will give me that option,” Twist said.
Twist hopes to have the same opportunity in college when he joins the Oregon Ducks next year.
“They are going to give me the option to be a two-way guy and I have my mind set on that,” he said. “I hope to have a chance to keep doing two-day as long as I can.”
Twist has been a three-year starter for the Eagles while compiling a .455 batting average with eight homers and 71 RBIs in 67 games. He is 18-2 with a 0.97 ERA and 244 strikeouts in 129 2/3 innings on the mound.
Twist’s dad, Jeff, was drafted by Colorado in the 23rd round of the 1994 draft as a catcher from Oklahoma City University.
He played four seasons in the minors, including stints with Bend and Portland in the Northwest League.
“Growing up, he put a ball and a bat on the ground and however I picked them up determined if I was a righty or lefty,” Toby Twist said. “I have always loved the game ever since I got that bat in my hand. My dad was an inspiration to me, making it to pro baseball, and seeing all the knowledge he’s been able to pass on to me.”
Twist was chosen for an All-American game in Fort Worth, Texas during eighth grade after earning a spot on the West squad during a tryout in Orange County. That was the first time he recalled seeing Oregon baseball coaches and two years later, he committed to play for the Ducks.
“Oregon was the best for me,” he said. “I always grew up watching Oregon football games and baseball games. We would go to their games when they played at USC or UCLA. When I went to visit the university in person, it felt like home.”
Twist grew up playing football and baseball until COVID pushed the football season back in high school.
“That’s when I stopped playing football and got more serious about baseball,” Twist said. “It also helped me avoid injuries and train more for baseball.”
Twist has an older brother who also played college baseball.
“I always grew up playing against older kids so I had to work my butt off and do what I do,” he said. “I think that gave me an edge.”
Twist may also have an edge in the WCL because he has previous experience hitting with a wood bat during summer tournaments with the California Baseball Academy.
“I feel like with wood bats, you don’t have to swing as hard,” Twist said. “If you have smooth swing, it comes off just as hard.”
Twist will be one of a few UO recruits with the Drifters this summer as pitcher Trey Newmann of North Medford and infielders Dawson Santana of Lakeridge and Ryan Cooney of Jesuit are also on the roster.
“I am excited to spend the summer close to Eugene so I can get to know the area and hang out with my teammates on the Drifters to get to know them better,” Twist said.