Boys baseball season begins 8-0

Program emphasizes team camaraderie and traditions


Pitching in the season opener against Holy Trinity on March 17, senior Dylan Bass threw eight strikeouts in 3.2 innings, only allowing one hit. Bass is committed to play Division II baseball at the University of Tampa. Photo by Jiya Sheth

Following an after-school preseason baseball lift in the fitness center, junior Spencer Geake was pushed into the center of a dance circle and encouraged to battle a teammate. When it was his turn to dance, Geake shuffled toward his opponent before jumping into the air and landing in the splits. Other players erupted in cheers, and Geake was crowned the winner by his teammates.

Another preseason tradition, the Rent Jar, was created by senior Ryan Henschel. The Rent Jar is a can wrapped in pink duct tape which was awarded to a player following each preseason workout.

“I wanted to make something for the season to bring a better culture into the program, make something feel earned, not given,” said Henschel. “So whoever worked really hard that day earned the Rent Jar.”

According to head coach Dominic Savino, the winner of the Rent Jar was selected by other players and was based on the player’s consistency, work ethic, focus and intensity.

“I think [the Rent Jar] really amounts to a couple different things,” said Savino. “But the first is the fact that rent is due every day, from the standpoint of ‘you have to work hard at something if you want to be successful.’ And then the other piece of it is that success is temporary, it’s rented. As quickly as you obtain it or achieve it, that’s as quick as it can be gone.”

Rent Jar recipients wrote down personal goals for the season on a slip of paper, put them in the jar and then gave a speech. At the end of the season, the players plan to read these goals aloud and evaluate whether they have been achieved.

The team also practices traditions during the regular season like reading one page of a picture book aloud before each game and awarding a teamate the Player of the Game Belt after each game.

The team’s traditions and rituals have helped with the team’s mental toughness and mindset and have increased team camaraderie, Geake said.

“Now we’ve got the Player of the Game Award, which is basically a big, diamond-blinged belt,” said Geake. “I think that . . . motivates people to play well in the game.”

As of April 5, the team has a record of 8-0. In a game against Willowbrook on March 21, the team came away with a 7-0 win. Senior Dylan Bass went 3-4 at the plate, scoring one run and one RBI. Henschel went 2-3, scoring two runs and one RBI.

In a game on March 23, the team slaughtered Waukegan in a 23-0 victory, ending the game in four innings.

“The most exciting thing was Waukegan put up a guy throwing 90 miles an hour, and we put up 10 runs on him in one inning,” Geake said.

“I’ve never seen our team [play] like that before, and it was good to see us compete,” Geake said.