Talent Laden Friars Dominate the Diamond

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The Fenwick baseball season is fully underway, and the Friars are off to a hot start. Fenwick has once again put a formidable lineup to represent the school. A new year brings new expectations, and the team is aiming their sights as high as possible.
The workload for the season is grueling despite only lasting from late March to early June. There can potentially be anywhere between 25-35 games on the schedule depending on how deep Fenwick advances within the playoffs. Practices are added in everyday of the week that there is not a game, except for Sundays.
Senior KJ Slepicka explained, “Practices consist of batting practice, outfield/infield drills, running, and going over in game situations.” While the practices can seem monotonous at the time, the skills learned during them will eventually translate into success during the games.
With a work schedule like that, everyone can agree that a break is needed. Everyone’s favorite Fenwick baseball experience is the annual team trip to Disney World over spring break. The players get to go on rides, swim, and enjoy the sun.
In between the vacationing, Fenwick also plays a number of games against teams from across the country at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. These games serve as a good tune up before the onslaught of conference games that follow.
The sheer amount of games that need to be played bring their own troubles. Players can find it easy to overwhelmed and lose their way.
Senior Tommy Hogan cautioned, “The hardest part is staying level headed. Not getting cocky when you’re playing well and staying positive when you’re in a slump. Things can change very quickly in baseball, so you have to have the same approach everyday.”
The game of baseball can be very discouraging at times, especially when the someone on the team is experience a slump. To combat this, the team stays confident and rallies around each other.
Senior Jack Polston finds his own way of staying composed during the season. Polston jokes, “Our walk up songs are pretty awesome. They can pump you up and get you mentally prepared for the next at bat.” It is important for each player to find their own way of preserving. With a season that has as many games as baseball does, each player will fail at some point. What’s important for the team is how they respond.
Good teams need good players, and that is exactly what Fenwick has. There are usually a few Friars that make the transition to college baseball every year, but this year’s team is special. An astonishing eight Fenwick baseball players will be donning a new jersey as part of a college baseball team next year.
Jack Grace will attend Creighton University, Mike Cerceo will attend University of St. Thomas, Alex Pup will attend the Air Force Academy, Joe Atkins will attend Carthage College, Tim La will attend Elmhurst College, Charles Wood will attend North Central College, Joe Runnells and Owen Waunn will attend Depauw University.
For a team with as much talent as Fenwick does, there are no shortages of team strengths. Danny Stein argued, “Our strengths as a team is that we all have the talent to compete with any team. We have good hitters and good pitchers. Our team just has to eliminate mental mistakes.”
The team’s power hitting in particular is a major driving factor behind the season’s early success. Jack Grace, Lucas Kolovitz, and Charles Wood are the three main intimidators. Opposing teams often shift their defense in fear, as any of the three are a risk to smash the ball.
The pitchers are nothing to underestimate either, as Joe Runnells, KJ Slepicka, and Danny Stein consistently send batters back to the dugout like clockwork. Runnells, a giant on the mound, even has a few complete game pitching outings under his belt.
Fenwick will look to turn its wealth of talent into a deep playoff run. Jack Grace said, “The key to us going far the in the playoffs is our experience. We have players that have been here before and know how to win in big games and situations.”
Jack Grace knows better than anyone on the team what it takes to be part of a winning team. This is his third year on varsity, with his previous two stints ending in the super sectionals and sectional championship. Jack continued, “The end goal is the state championship. It’s the reason we put in work everyday.”
The baseball team is finding its stride as the playoffs quickly approach. Fortunately, Fenwick has its strongest team in recent memory. All the years of practice and hard work will soon pay off. With each new hit, run, and win, it is increasing apparent that the Friars have all the potential in the world to reach their goals.

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