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Prospect Point Of View: Danny Kapala ('17)

By MASH MEDIA TEAM, 03/05/21, 12:15PM CST


A LHP out of Eastview HS, you may recognize his face from the poster in the back of our facility. A kid who knew what his dream was and chased it with everything he had. Trust us when we say this one is a must read.

What is the one thing you wish you knew before going to
your first college baseball practice?

It's not that different.  You’ve played the game for your whole life, it doesn’t change when you get to college.  Sure, the intensity is ramped up and it requires a little more focus and dedication, but the game does not change.  That’s something I wish I knew, I put a lot of pressure on myself right away to be someone that I was not - just because I was at a different level, in front of a new team.  Someone thought you were good enough to be there, don’t change that.  Be yourself.


What is the biggest difference between playing Division 1
baseball and any other level you’ve played at?

I would say the biggest difference from Division 1 baseball from high school would be the level of self determination and mental toughness.  Chances are as a D1 prospect, you were one of the best players in high school. Success came easy to you.  This isn’t the case when you reach that next level.  Someone will always be better than you, but it’s what you do once you get here that decreases that gap.  How much are you willing to work to be the best of the best, and can you handle it if you are never able to get there.  Are you willing to surrender the outcome and become the best that you can be, and be proud of it.


What daily decisions have helped you improve the most?

Find a routine.  With college athletics and academics, your days are busy.  One way to take a lot of that stress away is to have a schedule that you like to stick to that allows you to address your business on and off the field.  At the end of the day it’s my decisions off the field that have allowed me to be my best on the field. 


What has been your coolest experience so far?

Two really come to mind.  Early in my career I was fortunate to be a part of a team that was very successful.  Losing was a rare occurrence.  It was a very cool experience to be able to see what had to take place on and off the field to make that success a possibility.  Second, the opportunities.  The past years our team has been able to take on the Twins spring training roster in an early season game.  For one night, we get treated like big leaguers.  All you can eat snacks, huge crowds and a game under the lights.  Pitching in that atmosphere will definitely be something I will never forget. 


What is the hardest part about playing at the division 1 level?

The hardest part about this level, and I hope athletes from other division 1 sports can attest, is the sacrifice you have to make to be successful.  It’s the little things that really can make a difference in your career and sometimes the biggest setbacks are what makes us into the best players.  More times than not you will not be able to do what the average student is doing.  But, then again, you are able to play the sport you love at a higher level than most people get to ever experience.


Best lesson one of your college teammates taught you?

“Don’t take yourself so seriously”.  College athletics comes with a lot of ups and downs.  Not only are you in a physically demanding sport but you are dealing with many stressors outside of baseball as well.  Many players can attest that baseball is a place to escape and forget about the externals.  There needs to be a balance between your personal life and athletics.  People can really struggle at times with their sport due to the stress they put on themselves in their sport, as well as outside of it.  The more you are able to find peace with possible outcomes, the more you are going to enjoy the game as a whole. 


Favorite piece of advice you’ve gotten from a coach during
your collegiate career?

Fall in love with the process.  I think this has been something that has stuck with me along my career.  For a long time I just wanted to get to the next step.  I wanted to be bigger, I wanted to throw harder, I wanted to hit a ball further - and I was just waiting for it to happen.  Not being the case, I had to look myself in the mirror and understand that in order to get those goals I set for myself I had to enjoy the little things in order to see results. I needed to have a similar work ethic to the players who did throw and hit that hard.  If you want to be a lion you have to train with lions.


What lessons or habits you learned at MASH have translated to
playing at the next level?

The Culture.  I took away a lot of life lessons from my time with Mash, but nothing has stuck with me more than the way I was treated by both my teammates and coaches.  They helped me really understand what it meant to be a part of a growing culture.  It wasn’t until I got to college that I looked back and realized it was never about how much better I could be than anyone else.  It was about making everyone that was there with me better.  It was about taking what I had learned as a ball player/person, and passing it down to the younger athletes.  I was taught that it’s not what you take in life, it's what you give, and I think that is what the mash culture is all about.  


What is one thing you wish you had taken more seriously as
a high school baseball player?

I don’t think I would have changed anything regarding this question.  I managed my classes and social life so that I could spend time training and practicing without getting behind.  I don’t think that I took anything more seriously than baseball.  I probably would have slept at the Mash facility some of the day, if they would have let me.  Looking back, outside of baseball, I just loved to compete and I wish I would have stuck with the other sports I played throughout high school.


What is one piece of advice you have for all of MASH Nation?

Enjoy the journey.  A lot of young athletes, including myself at the time, are so ready to get to that next step.  Many are results oriented without understanding and appreciating the process that goes into getting those results.  Take a step back, and think about all the opportunities, friends and habits you’ve taken away from the game.  Those are the things that you will never forget.