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The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Baseball knocks their first games out of the park

The boys varsity baseball team hopes to not only make playoffs, but to bring it home for the season.

From senior and captain Charlie Engelman’s homerun to senior Nico Hart’s no-hitter to freshman Hugh Bolinger’s walk-off single, the boys varsity baseball team began their spring season with impressive talent and teamwork. This team’s goals, however, stretch beyond the regular season and toward a higher feat: playoffs.

The team opened its season by winning eight of its first 10 games. While the spring season officially started on March 18, the team has been preparing throughout the off-season. During the fall and winter seasons, team members attended captain’s practices and conditioning and participated in the Fall Classic, which is a series of Sunday games played between members of the Brookline baseball community.

During the second game of the season, the team lost 10-0 against Waltham. Nevertheless, they quickly bounced back, winning seven consecutive games. Senior and captain Keenan Sawada attributed this recovery to the flourishing positive culture within the team.

“We won the season opener, which was great. But then we had a bad loss [in] our second game. I was a little worried because I felt like it was trending back to last season, but it just felt different,” Sawada said.
“The team was still [in] high spirits after the game [and the] energy is much better this year. So, we bounced back and won a lot–six or seven in a row.”

The team rostered one freshman, three sophomores, eight juniors and eight seniors for the season. According to Engelman, many seniors have grown up playing baseball together; this tight-knit senior community has embedded itself within the rest of the team.

“We’ve been able to develop a real team camaraderie, some real team chemistry, which has been really beneficial because no matter what your role is, no matter if you’re sitting on the bench for a game [or] if you’re in the game, everyone’s really supportive,” Engelman said. “Everyone has faith in the guy next up. If you can’t get the job done, they know that the next guy can get it done.”

In addition to strengthening the connections within the varsity team, senior and captain Harrison Sigel said the captains have worked to develop bonds between every level of the baseball program.

“There’s been a change in the culture and, especially with me, Charlie and Keenan, I think we’ve done a good job by incorporating more of the junior varsity and freshman kids into off-season practices, and we’ve created [a] more vibrant community,” Sigel said. “The varsity team has this culture now where people are able to talk to each other, and they’re actually friends now.”

Engelman said the camaraderie within the team has translated into a mutual sense of trust and responsibility among players who support one another and hold one another accountable when adjustments are required.

“Having guys that you know have your back, that you have a genuine friendship with and that you know will also tell it to you straight if you’re doing something wrong and hold you accountable has been really important,” Engelman said.

The last time the team had a winning season was in 2018 when it also won the Bay State Carey Conference. This year, however, the team wants more than the conference title: they want to make the playoffs and put up a competitive run in the tournament.

“I’m definitely excited to make playoffs for the first time since I’ve been here,” Sawada said. “But, my goal is not just to make playoffs; it’s to go deep in the playoffs, which we are hoping for this season.”

According to Sigel, all team members, whether underclassmen or upperclassmen, share a typical drive and desire to succeed.

“I think we have a group of kids this year who really want to go far, which I’m not saying other years we didn’t, but I think the senior class and also the juniors and sophomores this year want to do good,” Sigel said. “I think that’s contributed to how we’ve played, but I also think we work together as a team more and people are more supportive of each other.”

Sigel said this team’s future is bright, and rostering so many underclassmen, as they did this spring season, was in the best interest of the program.

“This year, we definitely incorporated more underclassmen on the team,” Sigel said. “There’s kids on the team [that are] not only good for the team but also good for the future of the team because they’re able to play around the upperclassmen and the people that are starting. And some of them are even starting themselves. They’re able to adopt the varsity level playing, and then they’re also able to look up to the upperclassmen and other people and see how they react to their success or how they react to when they don’t play as well as they want to.”

As the team found its stride in the opening games of the season, Engelmen said its confidence only strengthened. He said the team approaches each game with a sense of belief that it can win, a belief backed by its preparation and work.

“Going into every game expecting to win and just having confidence that we can get the job done no matter who we’re playing, it takes a lot of time, and it definitely takes work,” Engelman said. “A lot of our confidence comes from the work we know we’ve put in.”

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