GREAT FALLS — It was just two seasons ago that a back injury nearly derailed Chase Solesky’s pitching career. He was a sophomore at Tulane University at the time, hoping to build off a strong freshman season.
“Last year when I was hurt, it made me realize I took the game for granted,” Solesky said.
Solesky worked hard and recovered. After getting drafted in the 21st round by the Chicago White Sox in this year’s MLB draft, he’s grateful to still be pitching. But the Florida native had never been to Montana, so one can imagine how grateful he was to find out he had a buddy from Tulane coming with him, as fellow Green Wave pitcher Kaleb Roper was drafted by the White Sox in the 29th round.
“I was really excited. Kaleb’s a good friend of mine. It’s been relieving, to say the least,” Solesky said.
For Roper, the feeling is mutual.
“That actually gave me a little bit more comfort, going in with somebody that I was comfortable with,” Roper said. “Played with him for two years, so that was good. We ended up rooming together at minicamp, and we’ve met a lot of good guys now, so we’re all comfortable with each other now.”
Solesky and Roper are just two of five Green Wave players that went in the draft this season, a program record for Tulane. Coming from the same program and coaching staff at Tulane, the pair approaches baseball the same way: control what they can control.
“Nothing really different. It’s the same game. Preparing the same way — strike zone is the same, batters are the same, umpires are all the same,” Roper said. “So I’m just going out there, doing what I’m capable of, and living with the result.”
Now the pair will try to move forward in their respective careers, but they know that, at least for now, they can lean on each other.
“We haven’t skipped a beat,” Solesky said. “We threw a lot together in college. Come out here every day and throw together, so it’s … it’s like home.”