By Karli Miller
Red and black uniforms huddled around Trojan baseball coach Greg Anderson just 30 minutes before game time.
“We gotta keep our chins up and be aggressive. We’re not gonna hang our heads today, if we miss one, we’ll make the next one,” said Anderson. “Infielders, you gotta be aggressive on your throws to first.” With the team break, the red and black jerseys dispersed like ants and Coach Anderson reappeared.
Game day wasn’t a good day for spectators, with an overcast sky and the wind coming off the lake, but for the players, it was perfect. With a crack of a bat the game was in play, and the black and red jerseys marked their bases ready to react.
“It’s a big game for these kids, they’re competing against their local rivalry, the Greyhounds,” said assistant coach Eric Witz.
Not only are the Trojans playing their rival; this is one of the last times it will be the Greyhounds versus the Trojans. With the new school plan in place, the Denfeld Hunters and Central Trojans will combine as one team next school year while Denfeld undergoes construction.
The Trojans plan to make their very last season ever as memorable as possible thanks to their four seniors Kyle McCuskey, Joel Bransky, Sam Hoffman and Trevor Cotter.
“There isn’t any inspirational speeches or anything like that, these four seniors are leaders by example,” Anderson said.
Each leader has his own way of motivating their teammates. Senior Kyle McCuskey uses humor. “Humor is a key player in bringing the team spirits up after a bad game or play.” McCuskey has spent his season on the bench so far after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), but that’s hasn’t kept him from being a team leader.
This sense of humor sticks with the team when they hit the dugout after their warm up and talk a little smack to ease the nerves before the game. “Aw come on man that smells like s!@#!” “Haha, I personally think it smells nice.” Their boisterous humor is contagious, and they even got sophomore team manager Melaine Marino laughing.
“Because Kyle is injured and can’t play he isn’t on the roster, so he keeps adding his name in pen on the roster,” said Marino. Although McCuskey’s actions are all fun and games, it shows his peer dedication to the team.
Joel Bransky, another senior on the team, joins in on the banter and jokes with his teammates. “Hey now you know that’s my bat, don’t you dare use it!” While Bransky jokes around, he is patiently waiting to get out there and play the game.
“Playing East just fires us up more, I know some of the East guys out there so it makes it more fun,” said senior Sam Hoffman.
Hoffman takes a little different approach to baseball games than some of the guys on the team. Clearly on the quiet side, he claims he’s not one of the ‘funny guys" on the team. His positive attitude is what makes him an obvious leader.
“If we get a bad play I just forget about it, you can’t dwell on your mistake.”
Being a leader is just as important off the field as it is on the field. “Talking on the field keeps everyone together and focused,” said senior Trevor Cotter.
Although next year’s plans are uncertain, Bransky has faith it will all work out. “I think it will be a hard adjustment at first, but the players will adapt just like anything else.”
As the sky darkens and the air gets colder, the Trojans form a memory they will carry with them. They defeated their rival in a close game, 6-5.
While these boys are respected because of their talent and ability, they are leaders for their positive attitude they spread to their team. It’s the directions they yell out on the field and the jokes they pass that reflect their leadership. Although the local rivalry will soon be coming to an end, its still baseball, and that’s all that really matters.