Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Behind the Bulldog: Kai Leckszas on Recruiting During Covid, First Year Success and Tournament Aspirations


The Hoya · Behind the Bulldog Episode 3: Kai Leckszas. All podcasts are available for streaming on Spotify, SoundCloud and



Teddy Gerkin (TG): Hello and welcome to Behind the Bulldog, where we give you a behind-the-scenes look at the college experience of our student-athletes. I’m your host, Teddy Gerkin, and I’m joined by sophomore baseball player Kai Leckszas! Kai, how are you doing today?


Kai Leckszas (KL): I’m doing great. How about you?


TG: Not too bad, not too bad. So Kai, I figured we’d start by just introducing yourself, maybe what school, major you’re in, any sort of career aspirations beyond school?


KL: Yeah. So I’m in the MSB. I just transferred over to marketing. I was planning on doing finance, but I took a marketing class and was really interested in it. So I think that’s where I’m going to take my career.


TG: Awesome, sounds good. So I’d like to start by diving into your life before Georgetown a little bit. Can you just talk about, you know, when and how you started playing baseball?


KL: Yeah. I mean, I started when I was really young, you know, playing in Little League, as most people do. I played up most of my life, like made friends with like, guys, like a grade or two older than me. And yeah, I just like started playing at that level more often. So got used to higher competition. And I guess it just like, went from there.


TG: Awesome. Yeah. So you went to high school in the area around the DMV at Wilson. Now, Jackson-Reed. So you were able to make a lot of appearances at Nats Academy, which is where the team previously played. You know, do you think that factored into, like, some comfort in your freshman season pitching at home?


KL: For sure, for sure. I mean, like, coming in as a freshman is already like, stressful enough. But, you know, again, to like throw at home, like at a field that I’ve like, pitch against, like a lot, or pitched at a lot. Just made it a lot more comfortable and like easier to settle in, I’d say.


TG: Yeah. And most notably in high school at Nats Academy you pitched the DCIAA 2022 championship. Can you talk about the feeling of getting on the mound for your school, ending up winning it all?


KL: Yeah, I mean, it was just really exciting, like, just thinking back to as like one of the highlights of, you know, my baseball career, I’d say. Yeah, just like being able to pitch there again, it’s just like, a lot of like memories coming back. So it’s like, really cool to pitch there in high school and college.


TG: That’s awesome. So, I’m not sure if all of our listeners are going to be familiar with the baseball recruiting process. Could you just talk about how that works a little bit?


KL: Yeah. It’s definitely a lot, especially for my age group that had, like COVID, and all that stuff. A lot of it moved to like online videos and stuff like that. But generally, like, you go to like these big tournaments like Atlanta, Florida will have large tournaments. So there will generally be a lot of coaches there. But like, during my recruitment process, there was barely anyone in the stands. So a lot of video and like Twitter stuff, and like coaches would have to reach out to you.


TG: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Being from the DMV, did you, did you have any, like inclination or bias towards Georgetown? You know, were you always considering it?


KL: Not really, to be honest. Um, it was always just like the school like by my house. So I was never really like, oh, like, I see myself ending up there. But farther into like, my process and stuff. I just started, like talking to the coaches here more, like hearing more about the team and like, how well they’ve been playing and like how good the guys are here. I was just like, oh, like, wow, it would actually be fun to play here.


TG: Yeah, and, you know, being recruited virtually, and by a new coaching regime with Thompson and Capen you know, did that, was there any, like extra convincing, you know, was there a message that really put you over the edge to commit?


KL: I mean, there, there were a good amount of zoom meetings. I think just being able to get on campus. And like, obviously, with talking with like, Coach Capen, and the guys like, showing me around. Just like, because I didn’t really get to do that with any other school. Especially during COVID. So yeah, I feel like I got like, pretty familiar with the place like more than anywhere else.


TG: Yeah. Would you say, you know, there was anywhere else you were considering? Did you have other offers? Like ultimately, what made you want to commit here?


KL: Yeah. I mean, yeah, I was talking to like other schools. My first offer was Xavier, who, is one of our rivals. Yeah. But I don’t know, like when I was going into my senior year, almost, and it had been like a long process already. And I felt like I like found a school I liked already, especially with like high academics, a team that I could come in and make an impact on like, right away. So like, I really didn’t see a need to like continuing that process.


TG: Yeah. So you know, everyone’s first year of college is a pretty big change. Would you say being close to home, did that change your outlook on the experience at all?


KL: I’d say yeah, it definitely made it more comfortable just being like, aware of like, where everything was. I’d been on campus a couple times before. But like, I don’t really think about like home as much as like people say, like I should. I mean, obviously, I can go home like, very, like often and stuff. But yeah, I mean, a little bit of a difference maker.


TG: Gotcha, gotcha. Yeah. Is there, was there anything about college life that maybe you didn’t expect, or any adjustments you had to make?


KL: Just, I mean, it’s all just like being on your own. Like, you got to hold yourself accountable for everything. Like, no one’s gonna be telling you. I mean, unless you have some good teammates or friends that make you do your homework. But, um, yeah, you just you got to make yourself do it.


TG: I mean, how do you do that, especially having to manage your time between athletics, school, social life?


KL: It definitely isn’t easy. I mean, I’d say just get stuff done whenever you can. That’s what everyone says. But um, which isn’t as easy as it sounds, because there’s always gonna be like, people doing stuff that you want to like, join in on. But, um, yeah, I’d just say make  sure you like take care of the stuff you need to take care of before you, you know, take your mind off things, I’d say.


TG: Gotcha, yeah. Was there, was there any other ways that your athletic commitment, like affected your first year either academically, socially?


KL: I actually say it was more of a positive impact, just like finding a group of guys like to hang out with like, right away, like, I know, like, finding friends your first year is like, really stressful. Finding a roommate, but like, with, like, being on a team, like you really just like, get that stuff automatically.


TG: You’ve got it built in. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s, like I’m safely assuming the team is pretty, you know, like, well-molded, like when you came in as a freshman, you know, like, see, like, is there any you know, hierarchy or it’s kind of seniors love freshmen, and everyone loves everyone?


KL: Yeah, like not at all really. Like obviously, I’ll have like more respect for the guys and you’re like listen to a senior if they tell you to do something. But I mean, like, there were guys that were like six years older than me last year, we have like second-year grads, and it really like did not feel like they felt like they were over you necessarily like they’ll, they treat you like one of your boys just like you treat them like they’re one of your boys. Yeah.


TG: Yeah. So your freshman season, pretty solid. I’d say. You know, just want to talk about your debut.


KL: Yeah, um, well, it was at Nats Academy. So that definitely made it a little more easy. But yeah, I feel like just just being comfortable and being able to jump right in like with a team that like, you know, had my back like, I didn’t feel like everyone was like, ‘Oh, like this is freshman’s first start, like, he’s like, let’s see what he does!’ Like I really felt like everyone was like, ‘Oh, yeah, he’s gonna go out there and shove it.’ So that felt good.


TG: Yeah. And then your next start five, scoreless against Coppin State which earned you Big East weekly honor roll I mean, like like what do you attribute your hot start to?


KL: Like I don’t know I guess it’s just like what I just said just the guys having my back. Yeah, not really worried about making a big splash.


TG: Yeah, that’s awesome. So pretty good season for the Hoyas all in all, made it to Prasco Park, made it to the Big East Tournament. I mean, what’s it like stepping on the mound there like, you know, like big playoff opportunity.


KL: Yeah, that, that’s probably one of my favorite fields I’ve ever played at and just like the feeling of like being there, like, it’s like playoff baseball, like you worked your whole season to get there. Like it feels like an accomplishment to like step on the mound. But like at the same time, it’s like a like a challenge. You need to like, you know, the goal is always regional, super regional, Omaha. So that’s just the first step of being there.


TG: Right. With that goal in mind. It’s a new season, new roster, stronger opponents, new stadium. You know, do you want to talk about I guess first the move to Capital One Park?


KL: Oh yeah. Capital One Park has been been really awesome so far. You know, we got a new clubhouse coming in, the grounds crew takes care of us really well. Easier trip to get there. So the guys are really excited to play there, I’d say.


TG: That’s awesome. Yeah, and can you talk about some of your preparation in the fall? Maybe just getting used to the field? Some drills, intersquads?


KL: Oh, yeah, we got out there as much as possible. We were supposed to just be there for intersquads and then practice the rest at Nats Academy but um, we found loopholes to get there as much as possible. So I think the guys are really comfortable there already and, you know, ready to go for the season.


TG: Gotcha, that’s awesome. You know, mentally I guess first I should preface by saying the schedule this year is very strong. You’ve got Wake, Duke, three against Ohio State, the MLB Network Invitational. I mean, that’s, I guess, like, you know, I guess mentally how are you guys prepping for these big-time opponents?


KL: Honestly, it’s all excitement, I’d say. It’s just like, it’s just proof that this program is taking a big step in the right direction. And our team is definitely up for it. So yeah. Coach T is like doing this on purpose. He knows we’re ready for a schedule like this. And I’d say everyone’s just excited to get on and play those guys.


TG: Yeah, that’s awesome. You know, I guess, is there anything else you would tell fans to be looking forward to this upcoming season? Obviously, a, an opportunity to go to the Big East Tournament, third time in a row now. But beyond that.


KL: Yeah, I’d say that that used to be the goal. And now that’s, that’s like the expectation that we get there. Our goal is, is way higher than that. So being there for the first two years in program history, it was was definitely exciting. But now like that’s, that’s like our standard, and we expect to go farther than that now.


TG: Yeah. That’s awesome. All right, we’re gonna go ahead and wrap up this episode. Could you first tell us, all things considered, what would you say is your best memory at Georgetown? And maybe don’t pick the Big East Tournament.


KL: I’d say like, just that first week, being on campus, like there’s, there’s like, no feeling like it just the excitement, you know, meeting, meeting some of your like, future best friends. Like, guys, you’ll be like spending the rest of your life with. There’s really like no other week like that. So I’d say, yeah, that that feeling of being on campus for the first week.


TG: Awesome. Yeah, then we’ve got this one closing bit. We call it word of wisdom. If you could just leave our listeners with one thing you’ve learned from playing sports that you use in your everyday life, you know, just one piece of advice to for people to carry on forward.


KL: So something I’ve been trying to do more and something I’ve always been like, told, especially by the older guys on team, like every year, is to like not taking anything for granted. Like you’re only going to have four or so years here with like, some of these guys, you’ll like never like see again. So just like trying to like slow things down and appreciate like, even like each practice each game like is like something that like not everyone has.


TG: I mean, even just like the just the bus rides, right? All that traveling together, being together. Yeah. That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Kai. Everyone, be sure to get out to Capital One Park to watch him and the rest of the Hoyas take on, you know, a really strong schedule of opponents this season looking to make the most of it. That’s all the time we have for today. Thanks for joining us as we took a look behind the bulldog.

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