Baseball | 02/16/2023 17:48:00
Links to history
By Paul Suellentrop Clark Candiotti writes in his three journals every night to document his life and remind himself of what matters most. A diary records his baseball activities as a pitcher for Wichita State: bullpens, practices, ballplay. One of the spiral notebooks is for prayer and the life of faith. One is to talk aloud about what happened that day. “It’s so important to me not to fall behind in the things that really matter,” he said. “I feel that if I write things down I clear my head and I’m able to express what I have to say and I can reevaluate it myself. I understand very clearly how I feel.” He keeps journals so you can learn from previous writings and see progress and changes. “Mostly I write about how I feel,” he said. “No time limit. Write until I’m completely satisfied.” That maturity and introspection is one of the reasons why Candiotti, a young right-hander from Scottsdale, Ariz., will start the Wichita State season opener Friday at Long Beach State. Candiotti started his diaries in 2019 because Gio Diaz, his best friend and teammate at St. Mary’s College in California, recommended the routine to him. They use writing to share goals and track progress in baseball, faith, and life. “He exalted us both,” said Candiotti. “I’ve always had a good mindset, but once I started writing and journaling, it became more real and I started seeing it more and more in my daily life.” Candiotti transferred to Wichita State this season from Grayson County (Texas) Community College and quickly showed pitching coach Mike Pelfrey that he approaches the sport with a professional attitude.
— Wichita State Baseball Data (@GoShockersBSBDT) October 7, 2022
“If you go out and watch him play ball, he plays ball longer than anyone else and makes every pitch count,” Pelfrey said. “Baseball is super important to him. You barely see him smile. It’s absolutely fun to be with those guys, it’s fun to be able to work with them.” Candiotti is the son of former major league pitcher Tom Candiotti, known for his iron fist, who is currently a radio analyst for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Clark Candiotti, not a stooge, grew up in locker rooms and big league stadiums, which explains his single-minded focus on baseball. “Every time he Snapchats, he’s got a baseball in his hand,” Shocker pitcher Cameron Bye said. “While he’s driving, he’s got a baseball in his truck that he holds the field with. He’s got a good lead to him. Great lead.” Candiotti is serious about playing ball: don’t distract him during training. He is serious in the weight room and in class. “The only thing I want to do in my career is to be a professional baseball player,” he said. “It’s the one thing I grew up wanting. I take it very, very seriously.” Most days, Bye finds his friend funny and a good teammate with a positive attitude. On the days when Candiotti plays it’s different. He’s not one for small talk on his pitching days, unless a coach or catcher wants to discuss the game. “No jokes,” said Candiotti. “It’s tunnel vision for me. Very limited conversation. No distractions.” Chase Field in Phoenix, home of the Diamondbacks, is where Candiotti’s devotion to the sport blossomed. He has observed professionals such as Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer and Max Scherzer and studied their habits and behavior. Cole impressed Candiotti with his work ethic. “I got to see what it was like on early fieldwork, watching the boys batting practice, catching ground balls, pitching the bullpen, and playing catch,” he said. “This made me realize that all the little things you work on when no one is around really translates into success.” Candiotti began his college career at St. Mary’s, where his father and brother Casey played, in 2020. He made three appearances that COVID-shortened season. He transferred to Vernon (Texas) College in 2021 and went 1-3 with a 4.54 earned run average. In 2022, he went 7-1 with a 4.57 ERA at Grayson. While he was considering Wichita State, he discovered a coaching staff who wanted him to work and teamed up with Pelfrey, himself a former bigs player. “He Comes right after you,” Pelfrey said. “He has four pitches that he can throw for a strike, but he also has a good idea of how to pitch. How to read the hitter.” Pelfrey, who pitched for Wichita State from 2003 to 2005 and earned All-American honors, recognizes the signs from athletes who need a nap, who aren’t eating right, who aren’t getting the most out of weigh-in sessions. Candiotti, following the example of his professional models, builds his habits around diet, rest and conditioning. “He takes care of his body,” Pelfrey said. “That boy doesn’t take a day off.” At Wichita State, he found a serious partner in Bye, a young man who earned All-American Athletic Conference honors in 2022. When they go out to eat, they talk about baseball. When Bye checks in on Candiotti day, Candiotti usually recounts a YouTube video featuring a big league pitcher that he saw. “We learn from each other,” Bye said. “When we are doing something, we are 100% focused on that task.” Candiotti takes baseball on Friday with an assignment to start the Shockers’ season. It’s a task he’s been preparing for most of his life.
— Wichita State Baseball Data (@GoShockersBSBDT) October 1, 2022
Paul Suellentrop writes about Wichita State Athletics for University Strategic Communications. Story hint? Contact him at [email protected].