WJ baseball won their division last year and lost in the second round of the playoffs to B-CC High School. It was a great year in WJ baseball history, but the team lost 12 seniors coming into this season, and it seems like the loss has affected them. However, after a 1-3 start, WJ has gone undefeated including two comeback victories, a walk-off win against Paint Branch High School and an extra innings victory against B-CC.
“We had a really rough game in our first game vs. B-CC,” coach Steven Sutherland said. “Now we’re starting to pick each other up, work hard in practice, and play like a team.”
Because of the loss of the seniors, there were questions about who would lead the team this year, with just five seniors on the 2017 roster. Senior shortstop/third baseman Leo Bucello has seemed to pick up that role, calming down the pitchers and pumping the team up with his intensity.
“I have taken that on,” Bucello said, “and I’m glad the guys are responding. Whether it’s learning how to attack the pitcher or giving tips on fielding.”
Bucello, who was on the division-winning team last year, has been a dominant middle of the lineup hitter, leading the team in batting average. He lead the team in nearly all offensive categories last year and is looking to do it again, and the offense seems to be building off of Bucello and the other seniors’ work.
“I’m just batting when my coach tells me to hit,” Bucello said. “I loved hitting leadoff last year and I love hitting three hole this year.”
It’s not just the seniors who are succeeding. The new rookies are also succeeding and helping the team. One of the rookies is sophomore first baseman Noah Cerrud-Osmer. Cerrud-Osmer came up in the clutch last weekend with a game-winning single off against Paint Branch to walk them off in the seventh inning.
“I’m having fun, and having fun with the guys,” Cerrud-Osmer said. “The team is really supportive and helps us getting those clutch hits.”
WJ’s next game is April 19th against Sherwood High School, and the team will be at home at Richard Montgomery High School on April 20th. WJ hopes to gain their lead in the division against BCC.