It’s the bottom of the ninth inning. He steps up to home plate with a bat in hand knowing that if he hits this just right, he can win the title of State Champions for his team. He wipes away a drop of sweat rolling down his forehead, and with intense focus, he watches the pitcher’s mound. At this very moment, he knows why he is here.
Sophomore Stephen Personelli, a JV catcher, is one player who understands this.
“I’ve played baseball forever. It’s my favorite sport ever since I was young. I’ve played from t-ball to now,” said Personelli.”I love everything about it. The aspect of going out on a nice, early Saturday morning and playing all through the day till sun down is my favorite, especially during tournament season. It’s the life.”
With hopes to make it to Varsity this year, he intends to push himself further than just high school.
“I want to get as far as possible with it for as long as I can. I don’t want to stop in high school like,’Okay, I’m done. I’m gonna play on a men’s over 20 softball league’. I want to continue playing for as long as possible,” said Personelli.
But according to High School Baseball Web, only 5.6 percent of high school senior boys will go on to play in a college men’s league, and even slimmer that that, only 0.5 percent of high school senior boys will ever make it to the Major Leagues.
Yet despite all odds, Personelli still has a passion for baseball ranging from the players to the actual sport itself. He even finds himself practicing with teammates, even on the weekends, making them quite a tight-knit group.
Much like Personelli, Sophomore Xavier Hammond, JV left fielder, feels the same way.
“Our team is a family,” said Hammond.”We have to be. We spend two hours of everyday together.”
Hammond also has a love for the game.
“I’ve played since I was in preschool, and I play because it’s a way to keep my life in check, you know? If I wasn’t here I feel like I’d be bored all the time. Plus, I’m good at it so it makes it that much better, but honestly, it is one of my favorite things to do. In pass time or for a competition,” said Hammond.
But even though these two are dedicated baseball lovers, not everyone feels the same way.
“I had other things in mind other than baseball. I liked the prep for the season so I could get yolked, and the guys were okay, but the commitment was too much,” said Sophomore Wainer Hadley. “When I found out I had to stay after school every day, I was like,’yeet nevermind’!”
Hadley enjoys playing baseball in his spare time and thought trying out for the team would be something cool to try for the first time, but only if it didn’t take up so much of his time.
Even though he doesn’t play on a team, Hadley still finds baseball to be “one of the best sports out there.”
Whether you are young or old, pro or still in high school, or even playing on a team or not, the one thing every player can find in common is their love for the game.
The ball connects with the bat, and the crowd starts to chant his name. Home run. He makes his way around the diamond taking it all in while the rest of the team rushes out, dogpiling and screaming. And with that, he left the field that night, loving baseball that much more.