By Karen Billing
There’s a big difference between his backyard baseball haven at his Rancho Santa Fe home and the spacious Petco Park with its 42,445-seat capacity, but Santa Fe Christian senior Chase Bushor didn’t let the big league pressure get to him during a league match-up against Bishop’s at Petco recently. The 18-year-old pitcher tossed a no-hitter in a 8-0 victory over Bishop’s on April 4, a feat no Padres pitcher has ever accomplished, even in the pitcher’s park that is Petco.
“It was unbelievable,” Chase said. “I will never forget that experience, it was everything I’ve ever dreamed of doing and hopefully it’s not my last time on that field.”
Chase has been playing baseball for as long as he can remember, probably since he was 3 years old. Despite playing sports such as basketball and football, it was his time on the diamond with Rancho Santa Fe Little League where his passion for the game grew.
When Chase was 10, his parents asked him and his sister what they most wanted in their backyard. While his sister picked a pool with a water slide, Chase picked a baseball field. His father, Ed, said much appreciation and credit is owed to the Rancho Santa Fe Association for allowing the field to be built, which gave Chase the opportunity to pursue his dreams.
“He was 100 percent developed on that Rancho Santa Fe backyard field,” said dad Ed.
“It is a very special place to me,” Chase said, who has logged hours on the field nearly every day since it’s been built, working on hitting and fielding with his father, friends or just by himself.
Chase was called up to the varsity squad at Santa Fe Christian at the end of his freshman season and has been a varsity starter since his sophomore year. The pitcher with the no-hitter under his belt says he’s primarily a shortstop but as a part of the team’s three-man rotation, it just happened that this was his turn to take the mound at Petco Park on April 4.
When he took the rubber, Chase said he took the time to look around Petco and let it all sink in. “It was crazy,” he said.
As he started fanning batters and innings crept by without a hit, Chase and his teammates became aware of what was happening and baseball superstition set in: Nobody talked to him, not even the coaches. He came in the dugout between innings and sat alone, “just in the zone.”
Chase said he didn’t feel that his no-hitter game was ever threatened.
“My infield made a lot of great plays, I was never really worried,” Chase said.
In the game, Chase employed his best pitch, his curveball, and struck out 13 batters and walked two. When the last batter swung through the last pitch, Chase can barely put into words how he felt.
“I fist pumped and I thought, ‘I just threw a no-hitter at Petco Park’ and my team ran out to congratulate me. It was really cool,” Chase said.
While the moment was amazing, Chase has had some other great high school highlights with the Eagles as well, such as winning the CIF championship his sophomore year.
The team is now 10-4 and Chase believes they are a strong squad that can get back there again this year, making it past rivals Bishop’s and Francis Parker.
With his impressive stat line of a .455 batting average and a 4.2 GPA, Chase has earned a scholarship to attend Georgetown University next year. He will play shortstop on the baseball team.
“I love the campus and I love the little city. Above all, the education is tremendous and that’s my main goal. And I get to play baseball and chase my dream of being a professional baseball player,” Chase said.
He plans to study business and major in finance and management at Georgetown.
While he spends a lot of time with his high school team playing games or practicing, Chase said he still spends about five days a week on his backyard field.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone in Rancho Santa Fe that made it possible to have a baseball field in my backyard,” Chase said. “It made a huge impact on my life.”