At 6-foot-6, Randon Hostert has the size and the athleticism to be a pretty good basketball player. He can jump, rebound, hit shots, and was Bonneville’s go-to player when the Bees needed him to make things happen on the court.
But when the season turns to spring and Hostert takes the mound for the baseball team, it’s his arm that sets him apart.
The Bees’ right-handed ace and returning Post Register Player of the Year can hit 88-92 mph with his fastball and can spin a breaking ball that buckles the knees of unsuspecting hitters if they get caught guessing.
With baseball season getting underway, Hostert again is the player to watch, and the Bees, who made a run to the 5A state championship game a season ago, may be the area’s top team again.
While expectations can be lofty or fleeting this early in the season, the one thing for sure is that Hostert will be a physically imposing presence on the mound and at the plate for the Bees. He signed with Utah in November and the only objective now is to challenge for a state title, he said. Bonneville moves down to 4A this season and second-year head coach Ryan Alexander said he sees no reason the team can’t make another postseason run.
“I think we have a lot of things to prove on the field,” Alexander said. “That’s where we’re going to live. We’re going to live on earning what we get. On paper, we have a lot of talented kids. But anytime you have a Randon Hostert leading your staff, the expectations can be extraordinary.”
Hostert compiled a 6-0 record and 0.81 earned run average last season, while striking out 77 in 51.2 innings. His fastball might be intimidating, but he’s also worked to make his secondary pitches, particularly his curve, a next-level pitch.
“It’s one thing to have the size, it’s one thing to have the velocity,” Alexander said. “But it’s another thing when a kid that talented works as hard as he has … He has the stuff, but also his mentality. You can’t coach a lot of that.”
Hostert said there was still a collective chip on the team’s shoulder after not winning the state title a year ago, but with a core of returning players the goals haven’t changed.
Whatever happens, he’ll likely be in the middle of the action.
“I want to be unpredictable as possible,” Hostert said of his pitching philosophy. “Not let them know what’s coming.”
That might not be a problem, Blackfoot coach Liam Pope noted.
“He does have a good breaking ball, but in high school a 90-mph fastball is your out pitch,” Pope said, noting most hitters at that level can’t catch up to Hostert’s fastball, even if they know it’s coming.
Even if a batter gets a good swing or manages to get a hit, Hostert has the temperament to overcome it, Pope said.
“I love his composure on the field,” he said. “He doesn’t get flustered, he doesn’t get emotional. He doesn’t let anything affect him.”
Even after hitting .367 and knocking in 41 runs a year ago, Hostert will attend Utah as a pitcher. It’s a different role for him, but Hostert said he’s ready to focus solely on his pitching repertoire when it’s time. But for now, the focus is on the high school season.
Alexander said signing may take some of the pressure off Hostert, but it won’t tamp down his competitiveness.
“He can go out and just do his thing,” Alexander said.