Bouncing back

Baseball team prepares for the long awaited season after not competing since 2019


Instagram: @nollbaseball_

Noll players mask up and hit the fieldhouse for hitting practice. The team is seeing their first action in two years, with many players never playing a varsity game.

Addison Cipowski, Staff Reporter

With the winter months ending and spring nearing in a few weeks, sports talk is shifting. Bishop Noll’s baseball team is looking to make this season count, especially since the 2020 season was non-existent due to the unexpected global pandemic. 

Jeff Stur, assistant baseball coach, has high hopes for the upcoming season. Due to the circumstances of last season, Stur is focused on encouraging the team to not take this season for granted. 

“The pandemic has taught us that at any given moment, we can have something we truly love taken from us at any given time,” says Stur. “We are extremely focused heading into this season and know we have to be more hungry than any other team out there.”

This year’s team will be young, but driven. They lack varsity experience; only 1 of the 35 players in the program has played in multiple varsity games. 

Ryan Julian, head baseball coach, says that he is more excited for this season than he has been for most others in his lifetime. Both coaches understand that instilling a good mentality is just as important as the physical aspect. 

“We teach our players almost daily that this game is very humbling, says Julian, who will be entering his 3rd year as head coach of the program but only 2nd year competing. “Not getting too down on yourself while simultaneously not getting too excited about your accomplishments is crucial. No other game do you need to be in a good headspace in order to succeed.” 

Junior pitcher Christian Ayala is eager to get back on the field. He says that baseball has been a staple in his life for as long as he can remember. He understands how important it is to be a leader for this team.

“It all comes down to communication. We’re all on the same team and need to be open to everyone’s ideas and criticism, says Ayala, pitcher. “As a whole, we are a very young team with little experience. Now more than ever we’re going to need to play team ball and trust in each other and our coaches. Embrace that we are the underdogs.”

Junior catcher Ethan Lopez was left with a bitter taste in his mouth with the result of losing to Whiting in the 2019 sectional championship. This off season, he has been working extremely hard to make sure that he is able to give his all to this team. 

“I’ve been preparing this off-season by working out, conditioning, hitting as many reps as I can off the tee. I am working hard to make a difference and I could say the same for my team,” says Lopez, catcher. “We are not the same as we were last year, we are better.”

Junior shortstop Alex Ortiz says that last season getting cut short made him want to play even more. He’s prepared to take on the upcoming season with his team. 

“I just love the sport, my dad, and people who believe in me motivate me the most,” says Ortiz, shortstop. “I’ve been taking care of my body, my arm especially, and getting workouts in that will help me on the field.” 

This year the team will heavily rely on senior third baseman Aiden Companiott as a main leader. He has been on varsity since his freshman year, so he is one of the few players with prior varsity experience. Coach Stur says that the team will need his skills to help them succeed this season. 

“He understands all aspects of the game, he’s extremely coachable, respectable, and plays hard every single game and every single practice,” says coach Stur. “He has a tremendous work ethic and is respected by all of our players. Aiden will be someone we lean on to lead our group of young players.”

In the 2019 season the team’s record was 13-15, falling short in the playoffs with a loss to Whiting. The team is focusing on the same goals: having a strong mindset throughout the whole season and winning their 28th sectional title. 

“Collectively as a team, I think we will all cherish every single moment we have together as brothers,” says Stur. “I think it will be an indescribable feeling when we play our first game of the season. It puts a big smile on my face just thinking about it. Just being out there with our team will, being around the guys, coaching them, mentoring them and helping them become the best they can be is something I’m truly looking forward to this season. Our team is one big family that has a bond even COVID-19 can’t break.”

Instagram: @nollbaseball_