Expectations are a fascinating thing.

Expectations can inspire one to great achievements. In others, expectations become a barrier, causing one to wilt under pressure. If you’re around sports long enough, it’s easy to tell when a player, or team, is capable of rising up to meet expectations and do just that. Similarly, an intuition develops on when expectations won’t be met, where performance and productivity do not meet potential. And what is it that often defines the preconceived belief of an outcome? Preparation.

If one works hard enough, when there is a trail of dedicating resources to a desired outcome, chances are the outcome will be met. One when thinks an outcome is given, when the bare minimum is put forward, when past laurels are rested on, a hard lesson isn’t too far away.

For BPA 2024 right-handed pitcher Cade Townsend, expectations have been high. Although barely into his second year of high school, the Aliso Viejo native’s talent has drawn the eye of evaluations, prospectors dreaming on what is to come. But if you ask BPA found Jared Sandler, while yes Townsend is blessed with a naturally eclectic arm, it’s the work ethic, the preparation, the tending to his craft which justifies the high ceiling.

“I think the thing that has really showed up the last year is how tremendous of a worker he is,” Sandler said. “I think people think he is so good because he has natural talent, but he is an unbelievable worker.”

Make no doubt, Sandler recognizes Townsend’s natural talent. Saying the sophomore posses an electric fastball and electric breaking ball, what is seen on the diamond makes clear why Townsend received interested throughout the country at a young age. But in committing to Mississippi, what BPA seems more than others is why Sandler believes he has a chance to compete at the highest level, a ceiling of triple digit radar reading and rare accolades.

“He’s always been an electric athlete and the ball moves unbelievably,” Sandler said. “But the work ethic is the biggest thing people don’t know about him. He’s always the guy that gets to his bullpens early, puts in the most work ahead of time with body preparation and mental preparation. He’s our trainer on the road, he’s really taken into recovery, pre-hab and rehab. He’ll do things to work on our other players on the road, he takes it so seriously.”

Talent + series preparation. A recipe for expectations to be met, and exceeded. Here’s Townsend in his words on his commitment to Mississippi.

In five words, what does it feel like to say Cade Townsend, Mississippi-commit

Proud, Determined, Excited, Honored and Committed

How did you determine Mississippi was right for you?

BPA provided me and my family an opportunity to experience and explore, through their college trip program, many top colleges and baseball programs throughout the country. The experience at Ole Miss was unmatched. Not only was the town of Oxford fun, the university was big and the baseball facilities and coaching staff stood out. It really was the combination of it all that made my decision easy.

Throughout the recruiting process, what attributes of a program and/or university do you prioritize on finding the right fit?

Throughout the recruiting process I knew I needed to find a program that really wanted to win as well as provide an environment that I could further develop my skill set. The collective attitude and determination of the coaches and players showed me they want to be the best!

What sold you on you continuing your development as both a baseball player and person at Mississippi?

They value work ethic both in the classroom and on the field. The investment into the baseball program is awesome too. Ole Miss is providing all the needed tools for each player to develop and exceed expectations.

When you look at how many baseball players have decided to go to Mississippi what do you think that says about the university and program?

BPA and Mississippi share the same high expectations and determination to win baseball games. All our players that have committed to Mississippi feel very comfortable pushing themselves hard to compete at the next level. I think the Mississippi staff sees the drive and knows they can expect the best from BPA players.

Can you point to a specific moment or aspect of being a part of BPA that helped you reach your goal of playing at the next level?

What has helped me the most become the player that I am is the competitiveness of the BPA program. Our players have the same dream so we push each other to keep working hard and be the best we can be. Jared Sandler has created a brotherhood between his players on every team and together we push each other to reach our goals.

Is there a particular game , tourney or trip that sticks out to you wearing the black and gold?

Playing for BPA is always good…every time I put on the uniform is another chance to get better.

What’s the focus with two more years before graduation?

My focus for now is to get better and push myself to be the best player and student I can be. I want to better my skills and work on conditioning to gain strength and flexibility.

If you have 15 seconds to sell BPA what would you say?

If you want to get better everyday and find new ways to reach your limits then BPA is the program for you. BPA is where players who are obsessed with baseball go to play. We all have the same dream to play Division I and Major League baseball. And with the guidance of Jared Sandler we will all become the best we can be.