Sports

Baseball team hopes to build off successes, shortcomings of last season

By Nick Pecora ’21

THE ROUNDUP

Photo by Nick Pecora ’21 | Head baseball coach Mr. Josh Garcia ’07 instructs the team during afternoon practice on Jan. 14, 2020

The Brophy Broncos baseball team has been preparing all year for their upcoming season, which will begin with their first preseason game on Feb. 26.

The team’s preparation for this season includes lifting weights before school twice a week and on-field practice after school four days a week.

As is the case every season, the team will be moving on without many standout players who graduated last year, including Will Worthington ’19, John Dowse ’19 and Mason Kokodynski ’19. Despite being without these key players, older members of this year’s team are more than willing to fill the void left by last year’s seniors.

In addition to the on-field talents of these players, their leadership abilities will be missed as well. In their absence, this year’s upperclassmen will be tasked with taking on greater leadership roles on the team than they have had in the past.

Colby Musselmann ’20, one of only five seniors on this year’s varsity team, realizes that the departure of last year’s seniors is difficult to remedy, but said “at the same time it presents great opportunities for new guys to step up, learn that role, learn how to lead.”

Strong leadership on the varsity team can set the tone for the entire program, and many upperclassmen hope to serve as role models for younger players on the freshman and junior varsity (JV) teams.

“One of the most important roles for varsity is to set the tone for the entire program,” said pitcher Nolan Lopez ’21. “When the freshman guys, when the JV guys, or even the underclassmen show up to varsity practice, show them what a good Brophy Bronco baseball player looks like.”

This year’s team will be composed primarily of juniors alongside five senior players. The group of juniors found success early in their careers at Brophy, earning a 17-1 record in 2018, their freshman season.

Head baseball coach Mr. Josh Garcia ’07 stresses the importance of leadership to his players. “With the conference that we’re in, and with the teams that we have to play to win a state championship, we have to lead at an elite level,” Mr. Garcia said.

“Being a great leader is being able to encourage people around you, to empower the people around you, to inspire the people around you,” Mr. Garcia said regarding what characteristics a leader on a team should possess.

Musselmann has noticed these leadership skills on display wherever his team goes. “You see guys every day, whether it’s in the weight room or out in the field, stepping up, encouraging others to get their reps done … You see it everywhere, it feels like.”

As the team moves into the 2020 season, they hope to reinforce the successes of last season while also working on areas that could use improvement from last season. “We kind of fell short down the stretch … If we can build up off of that we’ll definitely set ourselves up for more success,” Musselmann said.

Brophy begins their season with a preseason tournament that begins on Feb. 26 with a game against Horizon High School.