Friday, February 22, 2013
By Chris Sokoloski
At Carvers Bay High School, where football and basketball have strong traditions, the baseball team is shouting “hey look at us.”
Andrew Fox took over as varsity head coach last year and led the team to five wins. It may not seem like a lot, but it was more than double the number of wins from the previous season.
“I can tell by these kids and their commitment to the program that I’m trying to instill in them that baseball is kind of slowly getting to the forefront,” Fox said. “And while it doesn’t target the entire school, we are very much basketball and football driven, baseball is starting to turn some heads here.”
Fox has 30 players in his program: 13 on varsity, including three seniors, and 17 on junior varsity.
When the season starts he expects three sophomores and one freshman to be in the lineup.
“It’s a good thing to be young,” Fox said. “These guys have come up with me the last couple of years … they’ve come up with us through the program and they understand what it takes to get here.”
Fox was pleased that more baseball players were involved in off-season training, and even took 10 players to a hitting camp at the College of Charleston.
Then when school started, the players started weight training.
“I try to preach to these guys every day that hard work beats talent every day, and whether we win or lose, we’re putting everything we have out there and we’re going to be successful,” Fox said.
Bears to watch this season are seniors Alan Tyler and Seth LeGette, and sophomore DaXavier LaSane.
Tyler, who has been on the varsity squad since ninth grade, is the starting third baseman and also pitches.
“I’ve never seen a kid play as hard as he does and lay it out on the line as he does,” Fox said.
Tyler said the success of the team will come from its closeness.
“We rely on each other and trust each other,” he said. “We’re like brothers.”
As a senior, it’s his turn to step up and lead his younger teammates.
“I’m going to tell them if they’re doing anything wrong how to improve on it and guide them through stuff, and coach them a little bit from my experience,” Tyler said.
LeGette, the team’s starting shortstop and one of its pitchers, has also been on varsity since ninth grade.
“[He’s] a kid you love to have around,” Fox said. “His will to win, and his will to bring everybody else up to standard and where we want it to be has been exceptional this year.”
Like Tyler, LeGette considers the team to be a family.
“I know we’ve lost players but the ones I’ve been playing with, we’ve got more respect for each other,” he said. “We play well together and we work as a team, we’re like a big family.”
LeGette had a simple answer to getting people to come out and watch Carvers Bay baseball games: win.
LaSane is already finding baseball success at 15 years old. He was recently selected to the UnderArmour All-American team, which means he will play summer baseball with them and participate in showcase tournaments in front of college scouts.
“It means a ton because people realize that we do have a baseball program here and it is legitimate,” Fox said.
LaSane also traveled to China with an American team last year to play baseball.
“It helped me a whole lot,” LaSane said. “I learned a whole bunch of new things. And it helped me with my [baseball] skills.”
Fox expects LaSane to be his “ace” on the mound and play second base and shortstop.
Settling in for his second season, Fox is looking to continue to build on each year’s success.
“Last year we competed a lot, didn’t win a lot of games,” he said. “But we were present in every game that we played, we competed, outside of a couple. So they started to believe a little bit and with that came the additional work.”
Fox is the latest in a string of baseball coaches at Carvers Bay, but he is committed to the program.
“I didn’t come here to take this position and just be a pushover,” he said. “I want to try and show [the players] there’s some stability here, and with hard work comes success.”
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