MHS varsity baseball sets goals following success of last season

Kayla Baltazar, News-Features/Opinion Editor

  “This year, we have some unfinished business,” said Head Varsity Baseball Coach Randy Lerner. After finishing in 2nd place at the IHSA State Championship, the MHS baseball team is working towards making it back to Joliet to play at State.

  “The whole playoff run [last year] was a wild ride,” Lerner said. “We won a lot of close games, we won a couple games where we were behind and trailing, and [it was] just nail biters the whole way through. Even the state championship game was a well-played, really good highschool baseball game; we were just– unfortunately– on the wrong side of the scoreboard.”

  This year, in order to make it back to State, the team is making sure to stay focused on their goals while starting to understand the team dynamics.

  “I think this senior class– seniors who really got a taste of what that playoff run was and have played at a state championship game– have been really good at helping drive the bus,” said Lerner. “They know what they put in last year and they know what it’s going to take during playoff time, so they’re really pushing their teammates to make sure we’re putting in the right work.”

  One of the seniors this year, Christian Seminaro, has high goals for both himself and the team.

  “My main goals for the team this season is to win Conference and to make it back to the state championship in Joliet,” said Seminaro. “A personal goal of mine is to be an NSC all conference player.”

  In order to achieve these goals, Seminaro notes that during the season he will have to be “the best teammate and leader I can be by pushing myself to be better every single day.”

  An important aspect of baseball is making sure the team isn’t just full of great players, but players who are willing to take on roles and make sacrifices for the greater good of the team to help them improve as a unit, not just improving their own stats as a baseball player.

  “Everyone figuring out their roles over the course of the year isn’t easy,” said Lerner. “Sometimes that poses some challenges, but I think in the end, really kind of focusing on what we’re putting in, the effort we’re putting in, the goals we’re working towards, where we’ve come as individuals and as a team helps define our success.”

  Being a leader within the team isn’t always easy. Baseball is not only challenging physically, but it can also be mentally challenging to push through when a game isn’t going how the team wants.

  “Baseball is a game of failure. As a baseball player you experience more failure than you do success,” Seminaro said. “At times you can think you’ll never turn things around because of how hard you are on yourself. The best way to overcome mental struggles and lack of confidence is to remember who you’re playing for– yourself– and to enjoy the game and the people you are around. I like to slow down the game and clear my head until my head is empty and I’m just focused on myself.”

  Seminaro also adds that this season, in order to improve himself as a player, he wants to improve his confidence while playing. He notes that “controlling [his] emotions is a key component when it comes to success,” and hopes to be more spirited at games. 

  The players know they have the ability to make a great team. The athletes last year who got to play in the State Championship know what it takes to make it to Joliet.

  “We knew we had a collection of players and young men that had a lot of talent and came together as a family and really worked towards getting us to the state championship,” Lerner said. “So from day one, we all had a common goal, a common focus. We worked really hard to make sure we put ourselves in the best situations to keep winning and get there.”

  Overall, the MHS baseball team is looking forward to a season full of hard work. With their eyes set on their goal (IHSA State), they plan on staying on top of their game and are determined to see success. But no matter how the team finishes this year, Lerner hopes they can look back and see how much effort they put in to improve.

  “No matter when our last game is,” said Lerner, “hopefully it’s the pinnacle game on the last day of the year like it was last year, but in their minds, in their family’s minds, in the community’s minds, they are not defined by how the season goes, they’re defined by the work they put in, how they grow throughout the season, and how day in and day out they go out there and compete and lay it all out on the line for their teammates.”