OMAHA, Neb. -- Texas Tech's Jose Quezada is a reserved individual when you first speak him.
And it's almost a built-in mechanism.
The senior's shy nature almost plays well into his role as a relief pitcher, one who tends to stay away from the group but surprises once he brings his arm back and throws a 95 mile-per-hour fastball on either corner of the plate.
His actions speak louder than words.
"I wanted to play baseball my whole life, and I've always tried to find any way to keep playing," Quezada said. "I've done everything I can to help me."
Making the move
Quezada has certainly talked the talk when it comes to doing everything to advance his baseball skills.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound pitcher, born in Chihuahua, Mexico, left the comfort of home and made the more than 870-mile trek to Northglenn, Colorado, to play baseball.
At the time, Quezada did not know any English and admitted it was a struggle while he completed his junior and senior seasons with the Norseman baseball team. That was in 2013 and 2014.
"I just had to learn little by little," said Quezada, who earned all-district honors in 2013 and improved his English. "I learned by listening to people talk and see how the words affected them. Or I watched people do something and hear what words were said."
His athletic endeavors were a big help. They provided a language all their own as teammates showed him how to grip a baseball to get better sink on a breaking ball, or point to where he needed to run in a double-play situation.
It took a bit of time, but Quezada gained his footing and even impressed his coaches with his strong arm as he played second base and shortstop for his two-year high school career.
But it didn't end there as he gained a chance to play at Howard College in Big Spring.
It was out of his comfort zone, but allowed him to improve his stock and the opportunity to finish his career at a Division I school.
"It was a small little town," Quezada said of Big Spring. "It was just baseball and school."
Learning his craft
Quezada felt as though his two years at Howard shaped him into the pitcher he is today.
The statistics back up that statement as he compiled a 9-1 record with 59 strikeouts and three saves in 63 2/3 innings in 2015. A year later, he was named to the all-Western Junior College Athletic Conference team.
The most important development, though, was catching the eye of Texas Tech assistant J-Bob Thomas, who later secured Quezada's talents.
"He's got an above-average fastball and above-average breaking ball," Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said. "He's a typical tools guy and got power in there. He hasn't really honed his craft yet. And he's not really a master craftsman. ... He's a guy that needs to hone his delivery and repeat that. When he does that, you're going to have something."
The senior has come a long way after transferring in from Howard College two years ago to join the Texas Tech baseball team.
"He was very shy at the beginning, when he first got here," Tech pitcher Davis Martin said, cracking a smile. "He was quiet, really didn't say much, and was sitting in the corner. Slowly but surely though, that changed.
"And I remember telling him a couple of days ago, "Dude, what happened to you when you were first here? Now you just don't shut up.'
"I'm just kidding, though. We all love him, and he's been the life source of this team. He's always energized, and we all love him to death."
Even as he works to improve his mechanics, Quezada (5-2, 2.16 ERA) has become a valuable member of the bullpen along with Ty Harpenau (7-2, 3.38) and Caleb Freeman (1-0, 4.60) during the Red Raiders postseason run.
The No. 9 national seed Red Raiders are set to take on No. 5 Arkansas in a winners' bracket game scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at TD Ameritrade Ballpark.
And while that's his main focus at the moment, Quezada said he's also aiming to finish his education and keep playing baseball.
Both objectives were achieved as Quezada completed his kinesiology degree, while earning a minor in political science, which he hopes will give him the tools to figure out a career after his playing days are over.
As for continuing baseball, Quezada was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 10th round of the Major League draft earlier this month.
The young boy from Mexico, with dreams of playing in The Show, finally got his break.
But even with that news, Quezada knows there is still work to be done before he joins the professional organization.
"Just need to keep growing as a person and as a player," he said. "We need to prepare for our next game." ___
This article is written by Carlos Silva Jr. from Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.