He didn’t face top baseball talent in his age group until he transferred to Archbishop Curley High School as a junior.
He was a multi-sport athlete for the Friars, but his baseball talent was considered raw. There weren’t many schools pursuing him to play at the next level.
That didn’t seem to matter to Costes. He just kept playing, and kept having success.
In the last two-plus years, Costes has committed to the University of Maryland, been named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, twice received All Star honors in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League and emerged as one of the most feared power hitters in the Big Ten.
Heading into this week, Costes was leading the Terps in batting average (.359), hits (52), triples (3), home runs (8) and RBIs (31).
Costes grew up in Baltimore City, and spent his first two years of high school at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. He then transferred from Poly to Curley, and thrived in three sports: as a running back in football, a point guard in basketball and all over the baseball diamond.
“He was a stud,” said Costes’ high school baseball coach, Brooks Norris. “Physically, he was better than everyone else. He was a little raw, but physically better than everyone else in the league.”
As a natural athlete, the 5-foot-9, 200-pound Costes had little trouble playing different positions for the Friars.
“He came in as a shortstop,” said Norris. “Played third his junior year, then center as a senior.”
Finding a school
Because Costes was somewhat new to the baseball scene, there was little buzz surrounding him early on at Curley. Eventually, a few local schools such as Towson University and Maryland started paying attention.
Norris said that Towson tried everything it could to get the right-handed-hitting Costes, but he remained patient and waited for the best option to surface. He didn’t commit until the fall of his senior season, when Maryland made its push.
After he graduated, he played in the Ripken League for the Baltimore Redbirds, one of the top-ranked summer teams in the nation.
“It took a while to find out where I was playing that summer,” says Costes. “I didn’t even get to go to senior week.”
While Costes’ classmates were off celebrating graduation, he was beginning his collegiate baseball career with some of the top talent in the country.
It didn’t take long for him to find his stroke against upper-echelon pitching. Two weeks into that summer, and he was hitting above .300.
“I didn’t know it would be so quick,” Norris said. “I thought it would be a challenge for him to adjust to the level of play.”
Then it was off to Maryland – and more success.
Thriving as a Terp
As a freshman, Costes earned a starting spot in the outfield, won some awards and was a big part of a competitive Maryland squad.
“It was a very joyful time for me,” Costes said. “I really wasn’t too worried about the accolades. I was more focused on winning.”
Costes hit .263 with 37 RBIs and a team-high nine homers in 2016. He was named to the conference’s All-Freshman team, honored as a 2016 CBN/Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and was a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
He’s built on that impressive start.
This year, he’s the starting right fielder on a Maryland squad that is 25-11 overall and second place in the conference with a 9-3 record. He entered this week with the third highest overall average among all Big Ten players. In his last conference game, Sunday against Penn State, Costes was 4-for-6 with two doubles, a triple and five RBIs.
Not draft-eligible until next year, Costes will head to the prestigious Cape Cod League this summer. He’ll be playing for the Brewster Whitecaps alongside his Terps teammate, Nick Dunn.
Like when he was at Curley, Costes isn’t too concerned about the future.
His focus right now is being part of a Big Ten champion at Maryland.
BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Top Performers of the Week
Josh Hejka, RHP, Johns Hopkins University
Soph./Dearborn, Mich./Divine Child HS
Hejka has been solid for Johns Hopkins, and was rewarded by being named Centennial Conference Pitcher of the Week. The 5-foot-11, 150-pound reliever threw a career-high five innings against Salisbury University and picked up the win. Later in the week, he pitched three innings against Haverford College and earned his third save of the season. In total, he threw eight scoreless, struck out eight and walked none.
Jordan Patterson, INF/P, Hood College
Fr./Laurel, Md./Atholton HS
Patterson dazzled at the plate and on the mound for the Blazers this week. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound freshman had four hits, four RBIs and earned the save in the Blazers’ 7-4 win at Messiah College. It was his second, four-hit game in a week and his third save of the season.
Brian Shaffer, RHP, University of Maryland
Jr./Pylesville, Md./North Harford HS
It’s no surprise the Big Ten Conference announced Shaffer was its Pitcher of the Week on Monday. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound righty set a new career-high with 11 strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings against Penn State. He now has four wins and a 1.83 ERA. This is the second time this season he has earned the conference award.
Moments worth mentioning
There were a number of walkoff wins for local teams this week, but two did it in spectacular style. On Friday night in College Park, the University of Maryland hosted Pennsylvania State University. Down 1-0 entering the ninth, the Terps used back-to-back home runs from Zach Jancarski and Brandon Gum on consecutive pitches to win 2-1. … Johns Hopkins University beat Salisbury University on Monday on a Mike Smith home run in the 10th inning. It was Smith’s second walkoff homer this year… McDaniel College is getting hot after a slow start in conference play. After beginning 0-6 in the Centennial Conference, the Green Terror have won three of their last five, including a sweep of Muhlenberg College on Saturday. … The U.S. Naval Academy has won 12 games in a row after a sweep of Lehigh University and a victory Wednesday over George Mason. It’s Navy’s longest win streak this season – the Midshipmen also had an 11-game winning streak earlier this year. They are now 30-12 and 10-2 in conference action. … In its 8-4 win Wednesday against George Washington University, Towson University scored at least one run in six of its eight innings.
Matchup to watch
The Capital Athletic Conference baseball tournament began this week. Top-seeded Salisbury University is hosting the tournament that runs through Saturday. The Gulls are looking for their second straight conference championship and their 14th overall. If they win, they’ll earn their 23rd appearance in a NCAA Regional.