Varsity Baseball starts season with success and strikeouts


Naomi Yaeger, Staff Writer

Despite losing 10 to 0 to Poly Prep Wednesday, the school’s Boys Varsity Baseball team is off to a strong start this year with a record of six wins to four losses, Sam Spector (10) said. “We’ve definitely performed above [my] expectations and it’s been fun to finally win some games,” he said. The team is looking forward to another game against Riverdale today, he said.

The team worked hard during spring training and focused mainly on skills such as fielding, catching, and hitting, Spector said. “We went over basic fundamentals and generally got into condition for the games,” he said. In one drill, most of the team fielded while a few players acted as base runners, or runners already on a base, and players fielding worked together to make throws and to get the base runners out. “When the time came around for games, we were ready for any situation,” Spector said.

The team also worked on improving their swings during spring training, Lucas Alexander (12) said. Players focused on hitting baseballs off the tees. “You can work on your swing on a tee but you can’t work on it when you’re hitting real plays because the ball’s moving and it’s hard enough to focus on hitting it,” Alexander said. Using a still ball allows players to focus on their technique, which they can then use in game settings, he said.

During one memorable week, the team held a two-game win streak against both Fieldston and Trinity, Julian Silverman (12) said. “We came into the week knowing that they were both very complete teams, and both near the top of the league. We ended up playing very well against both schools and came out of the week with two statement wins,” he said.

In a game against the Hackley School, the team was making a comeback when weather conditions grinded the game to a halt, said Alexander. “We didn’t get to finish the game in the seventh [inning] because [the coaches] decided it was too dark to finish the game,” he said. At the time, the team was only losing by one point and was making a comeback, he said. “We were supposed to finish it later, but then, the athletic directors of the Ivy League decided that any game past the fifth inning that couldn’t be finished was over, so we have that as a loss in our record,” Alexander said.

During rough games, Spector finds it useful to take a step back and to refocus on what he and the team are trying to accomplish, he said. “One game when I was pitching against Collegiate, I was struggling to have control and [be in] command of my pitches,” he said. “Instead of letting it get to my head, I had to reset after every pitch and focus on throwing strikes.”

The season has been full of exciting and successful moments, such as a recent game against Fieldston on April 18, Alexander said. “Fieldston was a big game for us because they’re also contending for one of the top spots in the league,” he said. When The Lions played Fieldston, they hit at least three home runs, he said. “We all hit really well and we ended up winning eight to one.”

The team tries to keep its preparation before games consistent, Spector said. “Coach Russo always preps us before the game and tells us our game plan going into it,” he said. Players also do the same stretching routine before each game, he said.

The team often listens to music to help focus and relax, Alexander said. “The baseball team, courtesy of me, has been listening to country music this year. The philosophy is that the best teams in the nation do it, so why don’t we?” he said.

Players combine by preparing individually and connecting as a team, Silverman said. “Each player has their own routine, whether it be taking a nap on the bus, listening to music, or just talking. But once it’s game time, everyone acknowledges that it’s time to lock-in, and the whole team focuses on the task ahead,” he said.

Spector is excited for the rest of the season, he said. “I’m looking forward to winning some games and hopefully going far in the NYSAIS playoffs,” Spector said. “It’s been a really fun season, and if you’re a fan and you’re reading this, come out, support us, and watch the games.”