By Gennesis Carrion
The men’s baseball team has already faced trouble this season because of the record-breaking amount of snow.
“We would all agree that Mother Nature has blessed us with this much needed snow,” joked Coach Carmelo Rodriguez. “Nevertheless, the Dukes are looking forward to our season and are planning in making it successful and exciting.”
With only two returning players, Anthony Caraballo and Eric Martinez, the Dukes are a fairly young team that is slowly getting more united.
“It’s because a lot of us already knew each other from growing up together and playing against each other in high school,” stated team member David King.
A factor that will bring the Dukes closer is the time they spend together at practice. The team attends two hour sessions Monday through Friday and four hour sessions on weekends. During practice, the team runs drills to incorporate bunting, base running, and defensive strategies while other practices cover pitching, hitting, and offensive strategies.
“Overall, it would depend on our team weaknesses and strengths,” explained Coach Rodriguez. “Those are the factors that will guide us in the correct path of proper selective practice strategies”.
Coach Rodriguez ensures that all players practice different positions. Each player has some knowledge and experience playing every position and that makes it easier to face whatever happens in a game.
“For example, if our starting shortstop were to get hurt during a game, then one of us could just fill in for him and still know what we’re doing,” explained King.
The Dukes’ teamwork and skills will definitely be put to a test when they attend the Cocoa Expo Tournament in Cocoa, Florida during spring break. The team has not been informed of the opponents they will be facing, but they expect tough competition.
“I’m looking forward to see who we get to play against and how we do,” stated team member Juan Villanueva. “This trip will also help bond us more as a team and as friends since I know we’re going to have some fun down there.”
Overall, Coach Rodriguez is confident in his team and their success this season.
“With what I have already seen with this team, their speed, defense, and offense progress, it would not be a stretch to state that they have the ability to be competitive within their grasp and be successful.”
It appears that neither snow nor any other factor can stop the Dukes’ determination .