Covering the Bases
March 26, 2018
The most accomplished sports team at Jesuit High School is the baseball team. The Jesuit baseball team is well recognized throughout the Tampa Bay Area. If you play for the Tigers on the diamond then you are probably a top-notch player in the 813. In 2014, the Tigers won the state championship and in 2017 they went on to win the famous Saladino tournament. I got a chance to ask outfielder slash pitcher Javi Baldor and Head Coach Miguel Menendez question about the baseball program.
Senior Pitcher Javi Baldor’s response was “Last years team we were really close with one another and we had a strong team, this year we have a younger team and we’re very talented and look to go back to the State Championship game this year and close the deal and get the ring. The younger guys have really stepped up this year and have helped us tremendously.” For question Two, “We lost some key seniors last year including Tom Bencivenga, Duncan Hunter, Jeff Hakanson, and Jake Jones but the kids that replaced their positions this year have done a great job. We have a strong team that competes on the field every single day.” The answer to the third question is “Our expectations for this year, of course, is to return back to States as we were state runner-up last year. Like I said earlier we have a young team with several sophomores with great senior leaders helping them become the best player they can be. We won’t have an easy road to states this year so it’d going to be a grind.” Next up is that “Last years squad was very good and had several division 1 athletes. We went very far last year and proved that we deserved to be state champs. We have a harder schedule this year than last years but we have already beaten some tough teams and have proved how good we are. We still have some challenging games ahead and look to get the dub.” Last but not least “Our expectations are to win, we are the better team by far. We should have won last game against them but we let it slip out of our hands. We have one of our top sophomores pitching and I feel like he will dominant against them. We play them at home on Friday and I hope we can get some of our Jesuit brothers to cheer for us against TC. I have confidence that we will win.”
Coach Menendez responded with the following. For the first question “I don’t like to compare teams, I believe each group has their own individual strengths and weaknesses.The biggest difference is our experience. We have 7 sophomores on the team, that’s the most since I’ve been here.” For the second question, “We lost 11 seniors from last year’s team. I believe that each one of them played a part in our success. Losing that experience is the hardest thing to replace.” For the third question “We work hard every day to be the best team we can be. That’s the goal, to get better every day. If we do that, then it will be a successful year.” The answer to the fourth question is “I think we are a very talented group. The chemistry is starting to come together and I think that will allow us to reach our full potential.” For the last question “We expect to come out and play a very good game. T.C. will show up and play as hard as they can. We have to match that intensity and effort. We could use the support of the Blue Tide to be a difference maker for us.”
Jesuit baseball has a bright future. The road ahead is going to be tough but with the history of the program and the stars on the team, anything is possible. Nothing is out of reach for this team as the goal for the team is another state championship.