A shortstop on De Anza College’s baseball team has announced his splash commitment to a highly touted baseball program. Riki Desa, 20, shortstop, communications major, decided that he will commit to Long Beach State, to continue his illustrious baseball career.
As Desa gets set for the next chapter in his life, he explained his process, and how it was straight forward. “Coaches would contact me, and try to sell me on their school, but I was already set on Long Beach State,” said Desa.
Long Beach State has produced many MLB talents throughout their history, as players like former AL MVP Jason Giambi and former all-stars Troy Tulowizki & Evan Longoria have gone through Long Beach State to the pros.
Coach Erick Raich has nothing but praise for Desa, “[Riki] fits what the coaches at Long Beach preach. They don’t care if you’re undersized, because they just want ball players.”
Raich said that Riki can play any defensive position on the field.
“Desa was our shortstop, but when he came back from a index finger injury, we put him in the outfield and he made plays,” Raich said.
“We actually once joked around about having him play every position through one game.”
Raich has a connection with Desa that goes back to Desa’s 8th grade year, in travel ball leagues. And when he found out that Desa had no offers coming out of high school, he brought him to the baseball program at De Anza.
Raich always saw a great potential in the smaller Desa, standing at 5 feet, 10 inches tall. “Riki has a toughness to him that is very underrated, to go with a very high baseball IQ … and can be a very tough out when batting at the plate,” Raich said.
Although Desa says he improves his game by watching slow-motion videos of MLB players swings, his biggest influences come from within his family.
‘When I was younger, my grandfather would play catch with me, and he made the game fun for me,” Desa said.
Since moving to San Jose, Desa’s inspiration has been his dad, Dean, who would go to his high school and practice with him by having him field ground balls and do batting practice.
Desa has professional running through his blood, with his grandfather having pitched for multiple teams in the Japanese Baseball League. And as Desa enters Long Beach in the fall, he follows in the footsteps of multiple MLB stars in his journey to make it to the pros.