Swinging for the fences

by Justin Martinez| sports writer

Senior Connor Geselle fills out his college application. As a senior, his years of high school have nearly come and gone. Although there are only two weeks of his high school era left, he still has unfinished business left to take care of on the baseball field.

While the majority of school baseball teams are done with their season, the Johnson Jaguars baseball team is still in contention. With a 6-4 victory over the Churchill Chargers last week, the Jags improved their record to (23-12-1) and survived yet another round of the playoffs. The team is now one step closer to their ultimate goal: a state championship.

“The season is going exactly the way that we wanted it to,” Geselle said. “We’re picking up steam in the playoffs and we don’t plan on losing now after all the effort and hard work that we’ve put into it. That last game against Churchill was pretty crazy though. They thought that they had us when they took an early lead but we never questioned ourselves.”

Although a trip to the state playoffs is an accomplishment in itself, the Jags were not just hoping to qualify. After a controversial ending to the Jags’ season last year, the team is hoping for much more than just a playoff birth.

Junior Jared Vick gets prepared to throw his pitch at practice. photo by Anissa Pena

“We were playing Carrol in the third round of the playoffs last year and we were down by one run late in the game,” Junior Jared Vick said. “One of our runners was rounding third base and was on his way for the game tying run. Apparently, our third base coach was too close to the runner and they called interference. Because of that, the run didn’t count and we lost 1-0.”

As a player, baseball is much more than just a sport. Baseball is a competition that no player enjoys losing, especially on a blown call.

“It was bad enough that we lost the game and our season was over, but it was just that much worse to have had it end the way that it did,” Vick said. “If anything, it makes us want to win this year even more.”

With so much determination and motivation, the Jags have put together a strong playoff run and aren’t planning on ending it any time soon.

“I wouldn’t have been satisfied with our season if we had lost our last game because I know that we are capable of going farther in the playoffs,” Geselle said. “We were down by six runs in the game against Steele so we know what its like to play from behind and not be the favorite. We just kept calm and played our style of baseball and that was enough for the win.”

In order to complete this goal of a state championship, a team has to play to the best of their abilities and work their hardest every single inning.

“We’ve got a lot of heart on our team this year and that’s what sets us apart from everyone else,” Vick said. “We work together well as a team and that’s what it takes to go for in the playoffs. One player isn’t enough to carry a team and we know that. That’s why we stick together as a group and that’s why we’ve gone far this season.”

As a teams sport, baseball is not centered around one player. With so many positions and roles to fill, a team requires a full effort from every single person on the field. This is especially required for a team that has hopes to win a state championship.

“I learned to put the team’s goals in front of mine,” Geselle said. “If I go 0-3 (hitless) in a game that we wind up winning, that’s okay because all that matters is if we advance to the next round. My stats aren’t the main priority for me. As long as I play good defense and do what I can to help the team, I’m happy. I just want to win.”

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