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Big Reds Baseball Coming from the Ground Up: A Senior Perspective

Bill Roose

Alexandra Leone, Student Life Editor

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2017 has brought a new team to the plate, ready to take on the year.

With only three seniors on the team leading the way, a whole new dynamic has been set, but the team is still ready to play ball!

The three seniors on the varsity team– Tom Kopaczewski, Matt Hinkley and Jack Patrick gave the Tomahawk their insight on their view for the upcoming season.

“So far we have started off shaky having a lot of young kids on the team,” explains Kopaczewski. Hinkley adds that they are a raw, yet talented team ready to move forward, despite this slow start.

On April 19th, the boys lost 8-0 to Eisenhower. Austin Fredrick kicked off the game as a fireball pitcher, playing the field well. By the third inning, the Eagles had a run-in, while our Big Reds weren’t on the board yet. Unfortunately, luck was not in favor of the boys during this game. Although they all hit well, the sweet spots were not there to have a winning game. “Their bats started to get hot and found everywhere that we weren’t,” Patrick says. With this, Ike took a huge lead on our boys, but they are not giving up hope.

Tom Kopaczewski is one of the talented seniors at the Valley this year. Although he didn’t grow up playing baseball, his skills are undeniable on the field. You can see his number 1 on the mound as one of the Big Reds’ pitchers. “One of the things I love most about baseball is the atmosphere it brings because it is a more relaxed sport. All the people at the game from the players to the fans seem to be very happy they’re at the game.” Since he is not taking his talents to college ball, this is making this last season very bittersweet. With the comfortable team chemistry, Kopaczewski predicts a quick turnaround for the boys.

Matt Hinkley can mostly be spotted on the third baseline this season. Hinkley hopes to balance baseball into his life next year of balancing academics and work. “With this being my last season at Chipp, I’m really just trying to take everything in and enjoy my time on the field representing my school.” Hinkley was also older when he started playing the game, but he loves that the game is unpredictable and can’t be controlled by the mind. He also has high hopes from being such a tight knit group.  From their very first practice, they have worked to mold themselves into a state championship winning team. Some players have some habits or rituals as their “good luck” for a prosperous game, and Hinkley turns his into a beautiful memorial. “My pregame ritual since sophomore year has been writing “AM16” in the dirt behind my position on the infield. I always feel much more comfortable with Alex behind me at all times.”

Finally, the last senior on the team is Jack Patrick. This catcher is seeing his childhood coming to an end with his last season of baseball. He hopes to make it his best season ever and similar to the other senior boys, sees an optimistic future. The team chemistry has been undeniable between the boys. Although it has been different, it is “tight”. “Team chemistry is a must if you want to be able to win games,” explains Patrick.  Patrick has had a special passion for baseball for 9 years because the sport is set apart to him from others. “I love the complexity of the game. Everyone has a job to do every single play. Not every ball will go to the same person or react the same way off the bat. It requires a lot of constant thinking and strategics.” Although Patrick will be focusing on his studies in his future, the love of baseball will never fade.

Although our boys have had a rough patch, go out in the nice spring weather to support them! The potential is way beyond what everyone can see and they have a successful future ahead. A young team only means a better future to even move on next year, with these three senior boys paving the way. Be ready to see these Big Reds turn into champs!

 

(Photo courtesy to Bill Roose from the Michigan Prep Zone.)

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Big Reds Baseball Coming from the Ground Up: A Senior Perspective