Press Releases

Costa’s brainpower an ally on the rubber

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (August 18, 2017)
Contact: Austin Anderson
219-882-BALL Ext. 229

Corresponding Audio Interview

Many independent professional baseball players have a bachelor’s degree. Not many can say that they have a master’s degree . . . or two. RailCats right-handed starter Ayrton Costa has graduate degrees in both criminal justice and education.

Costa had the opportunity to begin working on these two degrees while finishing his undergraduate work at the University of Antelope Valley in California. Not to mention he continued to play collegiate baseball at that time as well. He continued his post-graduate education while playing professionally, as he submitted his final paper on the road.

“I was on a bus, and I finished it. It was a midnight deadline, but the WIFI wasn’t really good, so I had to wait until like 2 [a.m.],” said Costa. “So, I just emailed my professor, and she was ok with it.”

Costa wanted to get his schooling done early in life so that he can continue pursuing baseball while thinking ahead to life after his career is over.

“I love sports, so on my off days, I would hang out with my athletic director,” said Costa. “He just started out coaching at the high school and collegiate levels, and then ultimately, using an education degree to do so, [he worked] his way up to [be] an athletic director at a University. That’s what I want to do with my education degree.”

Costa’s diplomas and other legal documentation have his first name spelled A-r-y-t-o-n, but he prefers to spell his name A-y-r-t-o-n. According to the 25-year-old, there was confusion when applying Costa’s name on his certificate that made “Aryton” his legal first name.  

This is not the first time Costa has played with the RailCats. He signed his first professional contract with the RailCats in August of last year as he made three starts and six total appearances before being traded to the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League in the offseason.

He was re-acquired by Gary in July for a player to be named later. He has pitched 32.1 innings in six starts for the RailCats, going 2-2 during that span. Costa feels that his second stint with Gary has been more productive now that he knows what to expect.

“Not that there’s added pressure, but [2016 was] my first time in professional baseball, [you] kind of want to prove yourself,” said Costa. “But now, having more of a full season under my belt, definitely helped to relax a little bit. [The] clubhouse is great, [and the] management is great. I’m just excited to be here.”

The second half of 2017 in Gary for Costa has been more productive than his first half in Schaumburg. He attributes part of that to playing in a pitcher’s ballpark in Gary. He claims the gaps are shorter in Frontier League while playing with Schaumburg, and with Costa being a contact pitcher, hitters were benefiting from the smaller fields.

His two best starts of 2017 have come against arguably the two toughest offenses to face in the American Association in Winnipeg and St. Paul. Costa only allowed a combined two earned runs in 10 total innings of work. Costa attributes his success to his confidence.
“It doesn’t necessarily matter how hard you throw, how good the other team is, anyone can beat anyone on any given day,” he said. “trusting your pitches, throwing everything with conviction, and being successful . . . makes things easier.”'

Costa would be the first to admit that his fastball is not the fastest, but the elusiveness of a three-degree individual makes him a tough pitcher to face.
Gary begins a three-game series on Friday in Kansas City, Kansas, vs. the T-Bones. Southpaw Jeff McKenzie (2-3, 4.06) gets the ball for the RailCats in the series opener while the T-Bones have yet to announce their starter.

Gary returns home to U.S. Steel Yard on Friday, August 25th, for a three-game series vs. Kansas City at 7:10 p.m. Friday’s game is Stand Up to Cancer Night, features a Hat Giveaway and is another Fireworks Friday. The first 1,000 fans receive a hat, courtesy of Methodist Hospitals, while Fireworks and Stand Up to Cancer Night are presented by Fifth Third Bank.                          

Jared Shlensky and Austin Anderson bring you all 100 RailCats games this season on WEFM (95.9 FM) and online at Fans can purchase tickets for RailCats home games by calling (219) 882-BALL or online at The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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