By: Max Grzymkowski (Pollster)
Fall is right around the corner, and while many students will inevitably be at the local Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, the Nease junior varsity and varsity baseball teams are out in full swing. Players train to hone their skills on the field and focus additionally on improving their relationships between other teammates and coaches.
The coaches were overwhelmed with the amount of students that tried out for the team. This resulted in major structural changes. Coaches split the junior varsity team into two independent teams: gold and green. While these teams may be, for the most part, playing separately, they may occasionally join together or switch players throughout the season.
Practicing almost every weekday, there’s not much rest for these players. They get to Nease around 6:30 in the morning to use the workout room and stay later than most (right after school ends) to practice, condition and sharpen their skills. Spring ball, generally considered the most important season, lingers on their minds as the team gets to know each other. The underclassmen get used to a new and possibly foreign regiment, and the upperclassmen reunite with old teammates, each competing and bonding with each other throughout the new season. Most practices will be held at Nease, while the games could vary from field to field, depending on whom they play on a certain day. Practices usually take place right after school ends and games may be held on the weekends. Local tournaments may be held during the spring as well.
Recent home games played by the junior varsity team at Nease against a local travel team resulted with the gold team claiming victory two to one, while the other junior varsity team, the green team, lost to the same team five to three. The main areas of work needed to be done were highlighted by Coach Klosterman, who commented on these main areas of work during the fall season, “The main focus of the fall is first strength and conditioning. We want the players to really spend time getting bigger, faster, and stronger; on the field, we really try to hammer out all the fundamentals we can.” Coach Klosterman also explained the schedule of future games and showcases, “Varsity will play at a few colleges such as Seminole and St .Leo in order to give the players an opportunity to showcase their talent in front of some college coaches. It helps them gauge where they are in regard to playing at the next level.”
When asked about the fundamentals of making baseball a fun and competitive sport, junior varsity player, Dustin Navarro, remarked, “Teamwork, effort and just showing that you want to play the game the correct way all play an important part in succeeding in one of the hardest sports to grasp.” Enrique Castillo and Brayden Pfieffer, also players on the junior varsity teams, commented on their opinions of the teams and their relationships with each other. Pfieffer said, “Yeah, it’s a great group of kids, everyone’s nice and even the varsity helps the junior varsity players.” Enrique Castillo also remarked, “I think that what we have for a foundation right now is very good, and while we still have some room to work, by next spring we should be set; all around, the guys are good and bond well together.”
Nease baseball has had a very successful past, winning districts six times and regionals four times, dating all the way back to 1995. The team also won states relatively in 2017. There has also been several former Nease players who have committed to major colleges within Florida and beyond, one notable alumni being our very own Tim Tebow, who is playing for the New York Mets minor league baseball team in South Carolina currently. With fresh recruits straight out of middle school as well as returning players from past seasons, all vying for positions on the team, the coaches look specifically for respectful and skillful players that have the potential to get them back to being statewide champions.
Check out the athletics page on the Nease website for more information, and make sure to follow our Panthers’ progress for the remainder of their season.
Caption: A home plate view of the Panther’s baseball diamond.
Credit: Max Grzymkowski