It’s not Zavier Moore’s first time playing summer ball.
This year, though, it’s a bit different for the Southern University infielder.
In his second year playing for the Acadiana Cane Cutters of the Texas Collegiate League, Moore is relaxed and just happy to be back out there playing the sport he loves.
“There are so many people I know who wish they could be out here, so I’m just trying to take advantage of every moment,” Moore said prior to Acadiana’s 8-5 win Sunday night. “Especially with the Coronavirus, there’s a lot of people who aren’t able to play right now, so I’m just very grateful for this,”
When the COVID-19 global outbreak shut schools and businesses down across the country in March, Moore’s spring season at Southern, a Division I school in Baton Rouge, was cut short after just 16 games.
The junior played in 15 of those games, hitting .246 with a homer, a team-high eight runs batted in and five stolen bases.
“I think a lot of positive came out of it, too. Obviously, everyone wants to keep playing, but I’m just glad they’re letting everyone come back and do it again,” he said of the shortened season.
The abbreviated college season made the decision to play his second consecutive year with Acadiana, and third straight overall season playing in the TCL, an easy one for Moore.
“I think this year people are taking summer ball a little more seriously just because they realize how quickly the game can be taken from you … I like just going out and competing.”
The Shreveport, La. native was sent to Texas to play for the TCL’s Texas Marshals in 2018, but following the season the team was shut down. When then-Marshals coach Ricky VanAsselberg left to take over the Cane Cutters in 2019, he asked Moore to join him.
“My coach was sending me out there [to play with the Marshals] and I had to call skip one time and he said he saw the 318 number — he has a 318 number, too — so that’s kind of how we clicked,” Moore said of his initial interaction with VanAsselberg. “It’s been great playing for him. I love him, I love playing for him — he’s like family to me.”
The third baseman is hitting .274 with 20 hits, 13 runs, 11 runs batted in and three stolen bases in 19 games this summer.
Compared to two years ago, Moore says he’s a lot more calm before games. After doing away with his pregame routines, he says he doesn’t worry so much before he plays.
“I used to have a bunch of superstitions, but I got rid of all of them. My only pregame routine is maybe eat some sour straws, drink a Powerade and start stretching,” he said. “I took it too far — I took the superstitions too far … I tried to make everything the exact same, it never worked. My teammates said ‘this is getting too much, you’re going to have to calm down’ because I tried to get them involved in it.
“I’m a lot more calm now,” he laughed. “A lot more calm before the games, I’m not worried about much. I just stay calm and get ready to go out and compete.”
After winning two of the three games against the Round Rock Hairy Men over the weekend, Acadiana has won four of its last five games and currently sits at 10-12 overall.
Following a 5-10 start to the season, Acadiana finds themselves still very much alive in the playoff hunt with six games remaining on the schedule.
“Summer ball in general, it’s just a great time to come out and get better,” he said. “There’s nothing more fun than winning, obviously, but I’m just having a great time.”