Preview into the Peglegs' Season

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Issue 12, Volume 110

By Rudolph Merlin 

The Stuyvesant boys’ varsity baseball season was quickly approaching, but for the team, it’s not just another season. The Peglegs have lost some of their top senior players from the previous year, players who made the team a threat to the AAA Western Division. But the team isn’t down and out—not by a longshot. For the past several weeks, the team has been training and working with former alumni to improve the games they have consistently dominated. The result is what looked to be a talented lineup. Led by senior second baseman Maximillian Mah, senior pitcher and first baseman Owen Potter, third baseman Franklin Liou, and junior catcher Luca Bielski, the Peglegs would have had a chance to go all the way to Yankee Stadium.

The Peglegs would have been tested early in the year, facing Beacon, ranked third, and Franklin K. Lane Campus, ranked ninth, in their second week. But these were teams that were not unbeatable, and the Peglegs had every ability to do so. The Peglegs would also have been heading east to Queens, where they would face playoff caliber teams from the AAA Eastern Division. Two of those teams, Francis Lewis and Benjamin Cardozo, reached the quarterfinals in the PSAL AAA Championships last season, and they would have been interesting tests for the team. But regardless of division, the Peglegs were going to give everything their all every single game. “We want to be consistent every game,” Liou claimed. The Peglegs were hoping to reach the playoffs for the seventh year in a row and finish above .500. These goals certainly looked doable, considering the variety of talent on the team.

Historically, good pitching has been key to the Peglegs’ success. With Jared Asch graduating, the ace of the team is up for grabs. Senior and co-captain Owen Potter, though, looked to claim it. “He’s been really committed to his pitching. He’s been very disciplined,” remarked Mah, who also praised Potter’s ability to find the strike zone with consistency. Mah stressed the hours Potter has spent with his personal pitching coach perfecting his form and accuracy. Sophomore Paul Liou, though, could be a long-term helping hand and is a pitcher who shouldn’t be messed around with. This sophomore relies on offspeed pitches and changeups, and has recently been “hitting his spots” during his time on the mound, according to Franklin Liou. Potter and Paul Liou could be the powerful one-two punch the Peglegs need to propel them to the top of the division standings.

At the plate, the Peglegs were going to be led by their four captains, all of whom produced respectable batting averages last year. Bielski and Mah stood out from the rest, though, as they finished with good averages of .282 and .279, respectively Their ability to bring runners in would have been key in shutting out their opponents early. The team also has other talents such as junior Jordan Gray and sophomore Ethan Kirschner, who both batted .450 in junior varsity last season.

Considering all of this, the Peglegs were one of the favorites to finish in the top half of the division. “Coach [Carlesi] told us 10-6 is where this team belongs, and I think that’s where we can be,” Mah claimed. However, the team is anything but limited by this projection, and this is reflected in the attitude of senior Franklin Liou. He believes that regardless of how the team performs, it has to treat itself like the number one team in the city. That way, they will be able to play every game with the same championship mentality. “Our record against them doesn’t matter. As long as we try and give our best, we will be satisfied,” Mah said. This is one piece of the “championship mentality” that formed during spring training and it is something that the Peglegs take very seriously. Furthermore, part of being a champion is learning how to stay cool under pressure, which is something that cost the team last year. “Sometimes, we overcomplicate the game of baseball, and that can get into your head,” Mah said. “The last couple games [of last year], we struggled getting on base, and that cost us in the playoffs.” Mah stressed the simplicity of baseball: throwing strikes and making contact with the ball when in the batter’s box. But most importantly, according to Liou, the Peglegs need to believe, because if they don’t, “[the championship] is never going to happen.”