The Start to the Annual NHS Baseball Season
As NHS prepares for its spring baseball season, this is the beginning of the end for a lot of the players. With 12 of the returning players being seniors, this will be the last ride for the kids who grew up playing baseball together. Corner-infielder Daniel Reyes, shortstop and pitcher Joseph DeLanzo and pitcher Brian Conte all spoke about their experience in this program and what it has meant to them as well as their excitement for what is to come from this season.
Coming off a 10-10 season, these players are motivated to prove themselves as individuals, and as a team headed into their last season in maroon and white. The common theme revolving around the team seems to be doing whatever it takes to win as many games as possible. All three players who were interviewed mentioned getting it done on a daily basis and winning as many games as possible. DeLanzo took it a step further, as he spoke about how he could be better as an individual saying, “My main goal I set for myself before the season is to not allow my failure to affect my performance which is a common issue for baseball players. I wanted to be able to get over any failure very quickly and be ready to bounce back and be better.”
DeLanzo was not only selected as team captain by the players, but he has always felt like a great leader. When asked about his role as a captain, he was quick to respond stating, “I have always felt like a leader regardless of having the title as a captain or not. I have always been the captain for my club team so it is an easy adjustment for me. I am very honored to be the captain for my high school team because it is the greatest compliment.”
Most members of the team had no choice but to make what they could of a season plagued by COVID-19 last year. While they were not directly affected as a program, they felt their season was minimized due to the effects COVID had on the world. However, these boys were able to take it as a lesson and something to carry forward with them throughout life. Conte seemingly said it best, explaining, “It has taught me in both baseball and life to not take for granted what you have. You don’t realize how much you miss something until it’s gone.”
The feeling of this being the last season for 12 of the players is a bittersweet feeling that most cannot fathom. All those who were interviewed spoke upon how it hurt to think about but was fuel to leave it all out on the field for the person standing next to them. Reyes used this as a moment of reflection as he thought about what his favorite moment was as a high school ballplayer and he responded, “The most memorable moment in my baseball career was being offered a roster spot to play in college.”
For those who truly understand the sport, they know how much of a mental game it is opposed to a physical game. Conte explains it by saying, “I have learned that baseball isn’t just about baseball. There are so many life lessons that help you for the rest of your life. You make friends that last forever and you build social and mental skills.”
DeLanzo reflected on what this has all taught him by saying, “I learned a lot about life and baseball throughout my baseball career so far and I have to give credit to my dad and my club baseball coach, Charlie Giachetti. Both of them have helped me not only become a better baseball player but a better young man. They have taught me how difficult baseball is and there are many ups and downs but no matter what, you must remain calm and not allow your emotions to control your actions in a negative way.”
Reyes added, “One thing I learned in my life as a baseball player is that you fail more than you succeed and it’s how you bounce back from it and my friends and family have definitely helped me along the way supporting me.”
The bond these young men have built with one another and their coaches is “unbreakable” and something they will carry with them for the rest of their life. Most of these players grew up playing together and have been friends since the beginning, which has only added to the bond they continue to build. When asked about the bond among the team, Reyes responds, “I would say my bond with my teammates is very good because I have been friends and teammates with them for so many years and my bond with my coach has been increasing every year, especially this year too.”
The only thing that was seemingly new coming into this season was the newly added lights at Nutley’s home field, The Park Oval. This sparked a lot of excitement among players and fans, as it added this new feeling for everyone to enjoy in unison. The players chimed in with their thoughts on being able to play under the lights. “I am ecstatic because ever since I was a young kid I have always wanted to play at the oval under the lights. There is not another atmosphere like it,” DeLanzo exclaimed.
Through all the trials and tribulations, these boys have made the most of what they have been given throughout all four years of high school. Many of them didn’t have a season when COVID first struck right before the beginning of the baseball season in 2020, but have done the best with what they have been dealt. There seems to be much excitement lingering around this season, as the players believe they have what it takes to make one of the most memorable runs in program history.