Baseball swings into season


First-baseman Chris Cooper ’15

Izy Scott, Assistant Pulse Editor

Despite being a season of many changes, the boys varsity baseball team carries on one tradition that it knows will lead to success: “Play as one.”

“That has always been our team goal,” first baseman and outfielder Chris Cooper ‘15 said. “Full throttle on the field and off.”

With many new but expected challenges of filling starter positions and assimilating new players to the varsity level, 14-year Coach George Ushela will be passing his head coaching duties to Kevin Diete. Not only a LT alum, Diete was coached by Ushela during his time playing for the LT baseball team and knows the ropes of the program through experience.

“Coach Ushela has been a good mentor for me and has been showing me the traditions that he’s carried on from past coaches,” Diete said. “He’s letting me figure out what things I want to continue, while still letting me implement my own strategies and techniques.”

After a transition period early spring where Diete learned the basics of the program with the assistance of Ushela, their season kicked off with an opening 13-0 domination against Oak Lawn on March 21, solidifying the start of a season under new leadership.

“We started off slow, but now we’re getting more confident,” pitcher Tom Hickey ‘15 said. “The juniors are ready to step up, and Coach Diete brings new aspects to the program.”

Hickey is one of only three returning starters, and is building off of a .98 Earned Run Average from last season, which will be a key factor for the team. With the leadership from Hickey and other key players including Cooper, Jack Oremus ‘15, Charlie Harrigan ‘15, Jeff Wolf ‘15 and Jake McMillan ‘15, new players were swung into the lineup with ease, resulting in a productive season so far.

“We knew last year that players were going to have to step up this year, so we were prepared,” Cooper said. “Everybody knows what they have to do to get the job done and earn their spots.”
The 29-player team has been relying on their strengths of pitching and defense to solidify wins, Diete said. Through a hands-off coaching technique, he is avoiding weaknesses by working on situation hitting.

“I like to teach more than yell, unless it’s warranted,” Diete said. “During games, I let the players compete, and when certain things need to be addressed, that’s when I’ll interact with the players either individually or as a team.”

The boy’s next home game will be on April 17 against York. Regardless of the result, the players and coaching staff are building to consistently improve the baseball program as a whole, while upholding the traditions implemented even before Diete sported blue and gold.

“I was told that I would be the head coach,” Diete said. “I am just grateful to even be here, especially having been a former student and member of the program. It’s a great honor, and I hope to continue all of the success and tradition that the program has had in the past.”