By Brenna Clausen 42Fifty Staff Writer
On Thursday, May 3, the Oswego boys Varsity baseball team won against the rival team Oswego East with an overall score of 2-1 in 11 innings. The team also has a record of 12-6, and 5-5 in conference. The players have worked hard and have had several accomplishments as well as memorable team moments.
I sat down with Senior Varsity baseball players Jake Salzbrunn and Tanner Turnquist and interviewed them on their experiences on the baseball team. I asked them on their most memorable moment of this season, Jake stated, “Probably when we won against Plainfield North, Nick Cecchi hit a grand slam during that game”, Tanner added in response, “That moment was really important because it helped our team come together and gain more confidence”.
When athletes compete at such high levels there are usually different challenges or obstacles they have to learn to overcome. Tanner stated, “Going into the season some of our greatest challenges involved our chemistry being off, there were some team conflicts. However, since then we have overcome that issue and we get along much better.” He added, “The coaches took a role in helping the team bond and work together as a team”.
Since this season and last years season there has been many differences that the team has had to adjust to. Jake stated,” a personal difference for me from this season to last was that last season I was out on multiple injuries, my labrum in my hip was torn so I was out all year. Luckily, I am back now and I have been healthy with no injuries so that is a major positive difference.” Jake added,” Something that is very different involving the overall team is that there were around nine seniors on the team last year that left. We lost our catcher that has been there for two years, almost three years. We also lost an outfielder as well, so it was hard in the beginning of this season figuring out what positions we are and fill in the new positions, but we got a hold of that and now we are doing great”.
The Varsity baseball team is known for constant hard work and dedication during the off-season and season. I inquired about what the off-season consists of, Jake responded with, “We start out in August with free lift and we are usually in the weight room working, the coaches are with us and they have a planned-out baseball workout that they have us do. The mandatory workouts start around November when the football season ends. Practices are open gym styled, and we do different baseball workouts like hitting and throwing. Then in February tryouts start”. Tanner added, “the coaches definitely expect a lot more out of us this year involving weightlifting.”
Because of all of the hard work players and the coaches notice a huge positive impact. Jake replied with “it was reported in an interview with our head coach that Dylan White has put on 15 pounds of muscle through the off season, and during this season he has been playing with great improvements. We also have all noticed a huge difference with several players on our team they are playing stronger and faster. The open gyms also really help players on a sophomore level adjust to a higher level of playing”.
Not only does the team represent Oswego High School well at tournaments or games, but they also dedicate a home game to their teachers to show appreciation. Tanner stated in regards to what the teacher appreciation night, “May 17th is the teacher appreciation night, the last home game of the season. How it works is usually every student picks a teacher we walk out to the baseline and say the positive impact that the certain teacher has had on that player and the school, the teachers also receive a free hot dog and drink at the game”.
The seniors on the Varsity team have many impressive future plans after High School. Jake Salzbrunn is committed to play D3 baseball at North Central in Naperville, with a hope of someday winning a college world series. Tanner Turnquist will be attending Aurora University with possible plans of continuing his baseball career. Jake and Tanner also mentioned a few other seniors with future baseball plans: “Andrew Schimmoler is committed to a D2 baseball at Saint Leo University in Florida. Also, Nick Cecchi is committed to play D3 baseball at North Park College, Jack Ponx is also committed to playing baseball at Saint Norbert”.