Neaville, a pitcher for the Jackson baseball team, has quite a bit going on right now as he prepares to graduate high school. He is a member of several clubs and organizations at school (see below) as well as a youth basketball referee and a volunteer at the Snohomish Food Bank. On top of that he maintains a 3.97 grade-point average and helps tutor fellow students, including some of his baseball teammates. Timberwolves head coach Kirk Nicholson calls him the “best of the best.”
Q: How’s the season going so far for you guys?
A: It’s been pretty good. We’ve won most of our games so far and I think we’re on track to do pretty well.
Q: It’s a beautiful day today, has the weather been very cooperative for you guys?
A: We’ve had a few sunny days and a few rainy days. It hasn’t really affected us that much. Compared to other years it hasn’t been that bad. It’s pretty much what we’ve expected.
Q: When you’re not playing baseball what are you up to?
A: I’m in (National) Honor Society at school, LINK Crew, DECA, (student) Congress, Senate and I just hang out with friends.
Q: It sounds like you’re really busy. Do you have any free time at all?
A: Not lately.
Q: What are your plans for after high school?
A: I’m probably going to go to either U-Dub, UCLA or Boston College. After that, maybe med school or law school. I’m not really sure yet. It just kind of depends. I haven’t really thought about what I’m going to major in yet. Hopefully something like science or engineering.
Q: So you’re really smart then? Maybe you can answer this question for me, what came first, the chicken or the egg?
A: Probably the egg because — actually, probably the chicken because someone had to lay the egg for the chicken. And before that there couldn’t have been an egg.
Q: You excited for the Major League Baseball season to start?
A: Yeah. I don’t really follow it too closely though.
Q: So you don’t have a favorite team or anything?
A: Probably the Mariners because I go to some Mariner games.
Q: Do you think they can make it to the playoffs this year?
A: I think so.
A: I don’t know.
Q: Do you have a favorite Mariner?
A: Probably Felix Hernandez.
Q: What position do you play for Jackson?
A: I’m a closing pitcher mostly. Sometimes I start.
Q: What do you like most about baseball?
A: It’s not really fast-paced like basketball or football. It’s just kind of on your own time. You can take it however fast or slow you want. It’s more of a mental game and you play based on what you think people will do. It’s not really rushed. You can just take your time.
Q: Now the important question, what’s your favorite flavor of sunflower seeds?
A: Probably barbecue. Or ranch.
Q: Have you had the dill pickle ones that everyone seems to love?
A: I’ve had them. I’m not a really big fan.
Q: They’re not the best. What are your goals for your senior year?
A: Just help the team out. I’m not one of the top pitchers, but I can still just come in and throw a few innings now and then. Keep the runs low. Keep the hits low.
Q: How do you feel about graduation? Are you excited or terrified?
A: Kind of a mix of both. I’m happy to move on.
Q: Are you sick of the “Harlem Shake” yet?
A: (Laughs.) Yeah. I haven’t been in any. I don’t really like it. I don’t understand it really.