Varsity Captain Steps up to the Plate

Meet senior Sam Levine, one of four captains of the Stuyvesant varsity baseball team!

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Name: Sam Levine

Grade: Senior

Height: 5’ 11’’

Hair Color: Brown

Eye Color: Brown

Date of Birth: December 5, 2004

When and how did you start playing baseball? How long have you been on the Peglegs, the Stuyvesant varsity baseball team?

I have been playing baseball for as long as I can remember. It was the first sport I picked up when I was younger, and I have not really stopped since. I have been on the Peglegs since freshman year on varsity.

What inspired you to join the baseball team here at Stuyvesant?

I have been playing my whole life, so I knew I was going to join from the moment I stepped into Stuyvesant. Coming in, I also knew that Stuyvesant had a really good baseball program, with one of the best coaches in the city, so it was really a no-brainer for me.

Do you participate on an outside team, and how does your experience on the Stuyvesant team differ?

Yes, I play for a travel team, and the environment with both teams is definitely very different. With my travel team, we go all around the northeast, and it’s not the same group of guys every year. On the Peglegs, I got to progress from a freshman on varsity who didn’'t get to play all that much to becoming a captain. I have been able to see everyone else get better with me, and it has been nice to play with the same guys in my grade each year.

What position do you play, and what skills/strengths are involved?

I play shortstop, which is kind of like the leader of the infield. I have to be very vocal on the field to make sure all the other infielders know what they are doing if the ball gets hit to them and make sure they are aware of the situation at all times. It is a big responsibility, but one that I am really glad to have.

Do you have a most memorable/proud moment with the ​​Peglegs?

The biggest moment of my Peglegs career was that last year, we beat George Washington for the first time in 50 years. We went into the game with an underdog mentality, and we were able to just play our game and beat this. This was a really nice win to have, especially during the shortened COVID-19 season.

What is your strategy for constantly improving yourself (specific workouts, exercises, mentality, etc.)?

I try to maintain the mentality that you have to keep working if you want to get better. There are always other people around you who are going to outwork you and want to take your spot. I make sure I am always going to practice, trying to be the first there and last one out. I need to keep progressing and getting better, personally and for the team.

What’s one of the biggest obstacles you’ve faced while playing baseball?

I get injured a lot and generally tend to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I broke my wrist freshman year and have sprained both of my wrists and my ankles. I’m trying to play through the pain, navigate injuries, and just not miss any games.

How do you think the Stuyvesant baseball team has changed you as an athlete/person?

Playing on the team has given me the opportunity to learn how to be an active member of a team. As I mentioned before, when I broke my wrist, when I came back into school, the entire team, including the upperclassmen, were there waiting for me at the bridge to take me around school and make sure I was safe, and that showed what it meant to be a part of a team. I try to make sure that I maintain that now as an upperclassman and make sure they all feel protected like I did.

How has being captain changed your outlook on the game?

It’s a lot of responsibility. I work with the other captains, Jeremy Lee, Ethan Kirschner, and Paul Liou, to make sure that the team can succeed. It’s a long season, and we practice for most of the year, so I need to make sure that in addition to being on top of my game, I make sure the team is prepared and make sure individually everyone is involved and getting better.

Are there any short-term goals you’d like to accomplish in the next months going into season?

The season just started last week, so right now, we are just focused on winning the next game. We want to go into the playoffs with a home playoff game, so we need to win as many games as possible and hopefully make the championship and play at Yankee Stadium.

Do you have any plans to continue the sport in the future or in college?

I thought about getting recruited for a while, but I am not anymore. I am attending Vanderbilt University next year, so I will probably end up playing club.

How do you balance baseball and schoolwork, since baseball is all year?

Time management was something that was really hard to learn. Our games were deep in Queens. Getting home at 9:00 p.m. and knowing I had a test the next day and a couple hours of homework was stressful. However, through my freshmen year, I learned to get ahead of my work and get it done during the school day or on days when I come home early.

Do you have any pregame superstitions or rituals?

I have a handshake with Jeremy, one of the other captains. I play shortstop, and he plays center, so before every game, I run out and do the handshake. Also, right before the first pitch, all of the infielders huddle around the pitcher’s mound, and we all put one finger on the baseball and say whatever the first word that comes to the pitcher’s mind is on three. Those are two things that we have never strayed from and that I don’t expect us to stray from for the rest of the season.

Do you have a specific warm-up routine? What is it?

As a team, we go through normal dynamic warmups and glove stretches and warm up our arms. From there, we practice a little throwing and take some swings. I also usually run a little extra to get my legs loose.

What is your jersey number? What made you decide that number?

I wear the number two. Derek Jeter has been my favorite athlete for my entire life, and he wears number two, so I wear it. I also have been number two for my entire life, so I wanted to keep the number while playing at Stuyvesant.

Funniest Teammate? Dexter Wells, Iravan Bhattacharyya, Adam Lucey

Favorite Baseball Team? New York Yankees

Favorite Baseball Player? Derek Jeter

Favorite Sports Drink: Lemon Lime Gatorade

Hobbies? Watching Netflix

Motto to Live By: “Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard” —Tim Notke

Fun Fact: I only have one dimple.