For senior center fielder, life is a balance between baseball and music

Tristan Kevitch, a senior center fielder, joined the Chapman baseball team during his sophomore year. Kevitch plans to continue playing baseball after this season ends, while continuing his passion for music. Photo by Jack Clendening

When senior Tristan Kevitch was 5 years old, his father built him a baseball training facility in the basement of their home in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Kevitch’s father hung up a heavy carpet that he and his older brother would practice hitting against for hours. Soon after, Kevitch joined a local Little League team.

Coached by his father, Kevitch said his team won a series of championships. From then on, his love for baseball was cemented forever.

But Kevitch also had a passion for music. At 4 years old, his parents bought a drum kit for the house. Kevitch started playing for fun, but soon discovered an affinity for the art. Once his father saw this, he began to regularly take Kevitch to the Guitar Center, a musical instruments retailer, to play different types of drums. At 8 years old, Kevitch joined the School of Rock, a music education program. Kevitch said they played five to six concerts a year throughout Pennsylvania.

For Kevitch, playing both baseball and the drums has always been somewhat of a balancing act. He enjoyed both hobbies, but ensured the two identities didn’t clash, he said.

“I would keep my music friends and my sports friends very separate,” Kevitch said. “I would go to the School of Rock, do what I love, and then come back and hang out with my baseball friends.”

When Kevitch entered high school, his busy schedule gave him a difficult choice: baseball or drums. He chose baseball because he envisioned himself playing in college.

“The summer before I was a senior in high school, my brother trained me every single day and pushed me harder than I’ve ever been pushed physically in my life,” Kevitch said. “Without him, I wouldn’t have the skills I show on the field today.”

Kevitch was a sophomore transfer student from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Now a senior, Kevitch plays center field and has a batting average of .365.

“Athleticism and his offense abilities are his two key traits,” said head coach Scott Laverty.

Senior outfielder Alex Tsuruda, Kevitch’s close friend and teammate, said Kevitch brings balance to the team.

“Tristan is a great teammate because he keeps the team’s emotions light in tense situations … He’s one of the team’s best hitters and a great leader,” Tsuruda said.

Kevitch said his most treasured baseball memory at Chapman comes from a game where he didn’t go on the field. Last May, in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship against the University of Redlands, Kevitch was benched with a broken wrist – an injury he sustained during a game against Occidental College the week prior. Though he was unable to play, he said he remembers this game because the team scored 20 runs.

“It was like a movie,” Kevitch said. “Actually, not even like a movie because if you wrote it in a script, people wouldn’t believe it.”

Kevitch has now entered his final season on Chapman’s team.

“I’d like to make it to Cedar Rapids and compete for a national championship,” Kevitch said. “I want to leave the young guys with knowledge and memories to help the team in the future years.”

Despite spring graduation coming up, Kevitch said this isn’t his final farewell to the sport.

“If everything goes according to plan, in 10 years, I would love to be playing baseball professionally,” Kevitch said.

Kevitch still plays drums regularly, but has added a new line of instruments to his roster of talents. He now plays the ukulele, guitar, piano and harmonica, all of which he says he learned through online tutorials and YouTube videos.

“Now baseball is my job that I love,” Kevitch said. “And music is my favorite hobby.”