The baseball team took their their talents to Orlando over spring break to jump start the season with a week of sunshine and baseball.
“The trip was smooth,” head coach Mr. Fred Hilliard said. “We play a lot of baseball down there – usually two games a day.”
The team went 8-1 during the trip.
After winning the Inter-Ac for the fifth time in a row last year, the team was determined to start the 2016 season off with a bang.
“We have been surrounded by words of ‘this is their rebuilding year,’” junior Will Burgess said. “These words only pushed us more to prove who we are as a team and how we want to play out the season going forward. Florida was the perfect opportunity to do this.”
With great pitching from Shane Muntz and clutch hitting from outfielder Vince Sposato, the team was able to do just that.
Hilliard sees the trip as imperative for both the players and the coaching staff.
“Florida is usually the first time we even get on the field,” Hilliard said. “Normally, we bank on that Florida trip to see what kind of team we have. It is like our own Spring Training.”
Seeing the team play outside of practice allows the coaches to figure out what the lineup should be and also what positions certain athletes should play.
“When you only see them hitting in an indoor batting cage – you can’t really tell what is going on,” Hilliard said.
The baseball team’s trip gives them a leg up on all the other Inter-Ac teams, because of the high quality of play they face.
“Usually when we go to Florida, we haven’t had many games yet due to the weather,” said junior shortstop Matt Daller. “Being able to play in the heat is a great way to work on things that we need in order to improve our game.”
As much of as this trip is about baseball, it also provides a sense of unity to the team.
“It is good to get out in the warm climate and get games in early in the year, but the biggest value we get from going away is the bonding and the chemistry the team gets,” Hilliard said.
The team spends a whole week living, eating, and playing together. The best time for them to bond is when they are in the vans going from place to place.
“When we are in the vans, you find out who these kids really are,” said Hilliard. “You start to realize ‘Oh my gosh, this kid is really funny; I never would have thought that before.’”
Being comfortable in your own skin is one of the biggest parts of being on a team. By the time the team returned home, not only were they comfortable, they were ready to play some baseball, and start the Inter-Ac season off right.
This year, they returned home and continued the hot streak and are setting their eyes for six straight Inter-Ac Championships.
On April 18, The Philadelphia Inquirer ranked the team number one in southeastern PA and on April 20, USA Today ranked them number 15 in the country, regardless of school size or whether they are public or private.
“All roads lead through us until someone knocks us off,” Hilliard said. “Until someone dethrones us, it still is our league.”