PC Baseball: The Green Era Begins

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[ot-caption title=”PC baseball looks to make history this season. (via Ana Simon, sophomore)”]

It’s spring time and that means baseball is back. There are certainly some changes in this year’s Pine Crest varsity baseball team, including a new head coach. As Coach Mike Green enters his first season, he has set plenty of goals for the team to aim high. Last year, despite having a roster loaded with talent including two Duke Blue Devils, the season ended with an early defeat at the hands of Somerset.  Head Coach Green says that the way to succeed in the postseason is to be sure that the baseball players take ownership of their team and their training; he states, “This is their program, their school, and their legacy.” More importantly, he wants to see his team improve in general, and he hopes that the players will continue to hone their skills and work hard on the field. Coach Green could not be more pleased with the team he coaches, saying that “having the opportunity to coach these young men in the great game of baseball is a privilege and an honor.” He hopes that this season, the players will really grow, both mentally and physically, and will learn how to apply the skills they learn playing baseball off the field.

Last May saw the departure of a good amount of senior leaders, which means that this year’s stars will have to step up to the plate and become leaders. It seems, however, like this will not be a problem, as there is plenty of talent to be found on the varsity roster this year. Senior pitcher Garret Rukes has already signed to play for the University of Alabama next year, and he enters this year as PC’s ace on the mound. Last season, he struck out 43 batters, ranking in the top 10 in all of Broward County. Another great asset to the PC baseball team is junior and University of Richmond commit Jordan Schulefand. Not only can he pitch, but Jordan has a strong feel for the ball when it comes to batting. In the 2015 season, Jordan pitched a total of 43 innings, tallied 32 hits and 17 RBIs, and sent four baseballs out of the park. Junior Jake Kessinger enters this year as one of the team’s top batters. After batting .522 last season, which would place him in the top 100 batters for the state of Florida, Jake will be crucial to the Panther offense this season. They are aiming for a district title that has evaded them for 25 years, but most importantly, as Coach Green says, the team will have a lot of fun. “These four years go by incredibly fast,” he explained, “but you create memories and friendships that last a lifetime.”

Time really does go by quickly, and the PC varsity baseball team already has several games under their belt. So far, they have won four games, against American, Coral Springs Charter, North Broward Prep, and Cardinal Gibbons. They have also lost four, against Archbishop McCarthy, North Broward Prep, and two against Somerset Academy. Even this early on in the season, the team is showing signs of improvement. Their first two wins, (6-5 against American and 2-1 against North Broward) were close, but they took their next two wins (3-1 against Coral Springs and 6-4 against Cardinal Gibbons) by a larger margin. They lost their first game against Somerset 5-1, and when they played them again, they lost only 1-0. Their biggest competitors so far seem to be Archbishop McCarthy, Somerset, and North Broward (they have beaten them once then lost once) but the team is more than capable of rising to the challenge and taking them on. The next game will be on March 7 against Pompano Beach.

Goals such as winning the district title are important, but they aren’t everything. The team embraces the fact that they represent Pine Crest, showing as much class as talent, both on the field and off. Every player on the team wants to win the title and advance to regionals and states, and this just might be the team that does it.