Chris Moya has been a USC fan since as long as he can remember. He grew up watching the Trojans’ football team on television and later became a regular at Dedeaux Field watching the baseball team.
So when the USC baseball coaches told the West Covina (Calif.) South Hills outfield prospect they wanted him to become a Trojan, it was an offer Moya couldn’t refuse.
“When that opportunity came, it was awesome. My family was super pumped for me,” Moya said. “I was super pumped and it was something that we couldn’t turn down. It’s been a lifelong dream.”
One of the unique experiences being a USC recruit presented was allowing Moya to live out his childhood fandom.
“We went to a [football] game. We went on the field. Got to give them high-fives as they were running through the tunnel. It was awesome. Great experience.”
When Moya gets to USC, it’s much more likely he’ll be the one running and the high-fives will be coming his way after scoring runs. That’s what he’s been doing this season for South Hills. Moya leads the Huskies (18-7) with 27 runs scored.
He’s the engine that runs South Hills’ offense, which is most apparent when Moya struggles. Moya has scored in 18 of the 25 games, but when he has failed to score a run, the Huskies are just 3-4. However, Moya has really come on in the last month, scoring 17 runs in the last 12 games.
That has coincided with Moya being more aggressive on the basepaths where the speedy runner has been off to the races in the last 15 games, swiping 12 bags on 13 attempts. Of course, it’s easier to run when you are on base regularly as Moya has been. Moya was struggling early in the season, batting .286 through the first 11 games. He was hitting the ball hard, but finding defenders’ gloves.
“Putting nice swings on nice pitches, hitting right at people. Not much you can do about that, but just got to keep swinging it and hitting balls hard.”
Since then, Moya has batted .457 to raise his average to .383 for the season. His speed makes him a dangerous hitter because even the times he doesn’t hit a line drive, he puts pressure on the defense.
“I can use my feet as an advantage to what I do,” Moya said. “If I roll over one, I can beat it out. Just stuff like that. I feel like some guys don’t know about me, so it helps me out really every now and then.”
While he can be a contact hitter, the 6-foot, 175-pounder also said he has sneaky power that is able to surprise some defenders that may try to play him shallow in the outfield.
Could a sneak attack of power and Moya’s combination of elite speed and ability to hit for average get him drafted in June?
“It’s a dream. It definitely is a dream,” Moya said of the MLB Draft. “Since I was younger, since I first started playing I’ve always to say — watching a game on TV — I want to be that guy. I want to be on TV. I want to play. But it’s a long process to get there.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get there. If I have to play my years at USC, get bigger, get stronger, I’m going to do that.”
His first goal though is to help lead his team to a title and that has meant taking on a new leadership role this season.
“I feel like that it was needed. Last year, we had a senior in that role. He passed it on to me. I’ve been trying to carry on his legacy, putting a good example for the young guys we have on the team. Making sure that I do what I need to do because I know there are going to be guys watching me.”
That’s why his individual goals this year are all focused on the team.
“I just want to do great for my team, honestly. I just want to come through when I’m up, bases loaded, two outs in the last inning. I just want to be that guy that does it for the team because I love this team. It’s a great team and it’s my senior year. I’d like to go out with a bang.”
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