University of California, Berkeley just added another former Turlock High baseball star to its roster in 6-foot-6 right-hander Damon Treadwell.
Treadwell previously committed to play for the University of the Pacific, but the Turlock player decided to follow coach Mike Neu over to Cal.
“What made me decommit from Pacific was when coach Neu took the job at Cal Berkeley. Neu has been the coach I have been wanting to work with ever since we crossed paths my sophomore year,” said Treadwell.
His commitment to Neu led him down a different path to the Bay Area and a powerhouse athletic program that has a talented list of alumni and a stout academic program.
The process wasn't too complicated for Treadwell to withdraw from Pacific and embark on a new journey.
Treadwell said that Berkeley was never too far off his mind.
“Berkeley was always on my mind. Ever since I first met coach Neu, when he first saw me was at a Cal camp,” said Treadwell. “Once I found out Neu took the job, the first thing on my mind was finding a way to go with him.”
On July 5, Cal named 39-year-old Neu as the 11th head coach in the program’s history.
Treadwell joins the Cal Bears, a program that former Bulldog Brett Cumberland played with for two seasons (2015 and 2016) prior to joining the professional Atlanta Braves organization.
“With coach Neu being a top pitching coach in the nation, having him as a head coach is even more promising,” said Treadwell. “What else helped me out was the competition of the Pac-12 and the types of players they produce. Brett Cumberland being a perfect example of that.”
Just this past season, the Bears struggled as they went 25-29 overall and 15-15 in conference play.
Neu was Cal's pitching coach from 2011-15, prior to becoming the University of Pacific's head coach. Neu led the Tigers to 40 wins in the past two seasons in the West Coast Conference.
“What I am looking forward to mostly at Berkeley is just becoming a better ball player and a person in general. They offer one of the best athletic programs and one of the best conferences in the nation,” said Treadwell. “Definitely looking forward to becoming one of the few, but lucky kids who get to go on and play in the Pac-12.”
However, the road for Treadwell, which was already put on hold, might have to pause for another season.
“Committing so late in the year, admissions for the fall have closed. I will be doing a semester at Merced, knocking off some classes and then will be transferring over,” he said. “I'll more than likely be red shirting my freshman year as I am in no rush to come back and will make sure my arm is completely healthy before I return.”
Treadwell didn't play during the 2017 after suffering a season-long injury.
“The last time I have thrown at all was in January — a small, 20 pitch bullpen. The last game I have thrown in was … last August,” Treadwell said. “I started my throwing program last week after being given permission from my doctor. He also provided me with a monthly routine.”
In 2016, Treadwell paved the way for a team that went 17-11 overall and captured the Central California Conference title with a league record of 13-2.
That year Treadwell was an All-League selection as a junior and was 5-2 with an ERA of 2.48 in 42 and 1/3 inning pitched while striking out 52.
“The goal for me is to just build as an athlete and reach my full potential,” he added. “What I would like to add is just saying thanks to my parents, especially for taking all their time to help me out. Also, thank you to all my coaches who helped me. Mike McNeil, specifically, as I would not have been the pitcher I am without him. I’d like to thank coach Neu and Cal Berkeley for the opportunity.”