« Baseball 2009

Ben Orloff

School

University of California, Irvine

Position
Shortstop
Major
Criminology, Law and Society
AVG
.364
R
34
H
48
FLD%
.964
RBI
13

Classroom

Ben is a model student and is currently doing 40 hours of field work at Culverdale Elementary, tutoring sixth-grade students and serving as a teacher’s aide. It is not an observation course and student-interaction is critical. He is required to utilize outlined strategies in the classroom and complete typed reports as well as keep a journal of his experiences. His stories have been positive and his students look up to him, which is true in regards to all his interactions with people. Ben demonstrated his commitment to education when he turned down an opportunity to sign a professional contract with the Colorado Rockies to come back to UC Irvine and complete his degree. He is currently majoring in criminology, law and society.

Character

Ben is a natural leader and the team captain. He has been instrumental contributor to the program’s advancement and success during his career at UCI. Last season, the program experienced some upheaval when undergoing a coaching change and Ben was key in keeping the team together while the administration sought a new coaching staff. Ben, who was a junior at the time, along with three other players, devised practice plans and implemented them when fall practices had begun so as not to lose opportunities in preparing for the upcoming season. The practices were structured, disciplined and as well-run as any I have seen conducted by any head coach. Also, a few student-athletes considered transferring to other institutions following the departure of the previous coaching staff, but Ben was among those that reminded the players that they were committed to one another and that it was important to stay together through difficult times. That team remained together and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals in 2008.

Community

During his time at UCI, Ben has been an exemplary representative of the university and the baseball program. His interactions with the community have all been extremely positive. He is a volunteer at his church and most recently participated in a community outreach event in where a handful of the athletes went to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and spent the afternoon visiting with young children. When dealing with members of the media, Ben is well-spoken, thoughtful, humble and gracious. It is with complete confidence that Ben will always positively about the program and the university, whatever the nature of the question. Because of these qualities, Ben was selected to be one of three student-athletes to represent the UC Irvine Baseball program when it was honored at the annual Best LA Sports Moments awards ceremony last year.

Competition

In watching Ben’s approach to baseball, he has an amazing work ethic and works at his game constantly. As a freshman, Ben became the starting shortstop midway through the season and never relinquished the role. He has not missed a start since and will carry a 167-game start streak into the 2009 season. He led the nation two consecutive years in sacrifice hits and with continued work in the batting cages, Ben went from a .217 batting average as a freshman to hitting well above .300 his last two years. Last season he finished second on the team, hitting .344.  He was the team’s starting shortstop in three NCAA Regionals, winning two (at Texas, at Nebraska), two Super Regionals (Wichita State, LSU) and one College World Series, (3rd-place finish). In addition to his superior talent on the field, he demonstrates the highest degree of character every day.  He enjoys any competitive opportunity and is humble when he wins and gracious in defeat. He demonstrates the utmost respect for all of his teammates, opponents and the game itself.  Ben is a team captain because he possesses the character and intangibles embedded in all great leaders and athletes.