By Danielle Coppola
As the record breaking season of the Union Baseball Team comes to an end, all eyes are on the graduating seniors. These seven players are Matt Barretto, Jason Cohen, Tyler Heck, Dylan Katz-Wicks, Phil Kemp, Quinn Rhoda and Seth Roberts. Below are their most unforgettable memories as Dutchmen.
Best play you ever made
Barretto: I hit a grand slam my junior year at Central Park against Vassar. It was my first and only collegiate home run. I will never forget that jog around the bases and being mobbed at home plate by my teammates.
Cohen: Junior year against Clarkson, I made a sliding catch into our dugout on a foul ball against reigning player of the year, Dave Kinney.
Heck: The best play I made was jumping and catching a foul ball over the fence in right field.
Katz-Wicks: The best play I made was this year when we were up in Potsdam, NY taking on Clarkson. Seth [Roberts] was throwing a no-hitter and there was a hard hit ball up the middle that I had to make a diving stab at. I fielded it and quickly threw it over to first to save the no-hitter and get out of the inning. That game was filled with many jaw-dropping plays by the entire team, making it extremely fun to watch, even in the freezing weather.
Kemp: I couldn’t tell you exactly what my best play was, but being out there on senior day against Vassar and picking up a win was a special moment for me.
Rhoda: Against Rochester sophomore year, bases loaded, two outs, [I] got a line drive off my ankle and after getting knocked down was able to get the ball throw home and get the save.
Roberts: Finishing second in the league for lowest ERA.
Favorite teammate to play with
Barretto: Dylan Katz-Wicks. I have never played alongside somebody who had a better approach to the game of baseball than Dylan. He never pressed under any circumstance and was always the most positive, consistent player, day in and day out. I learned a lot from Dylan and am grateful that I had the opportunity to be his teammate.
Cohen: Tyler Heck. Just knowing that any ball that got through the 4-3 hole would be fired back in to me and had a great chance of throwing the runner out was incredibly reassuring. Watching him track down fly balls (especially his catch against Skidmore this year) and smashing them up at the plate was something incredible. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to watch him play at a higher level as well. Dan Friedman was a close second, anytime I reached second base I was always hoping he would pinch run for me and show off his blazing wheels.
Heck: There’s not a single player I didn’t enjoy playing with, we had great team chemistry.
Katz-Wicks: This year, the whole team had great chemistry and this is always tough to pick out one person. Playing shortstop, we always have a close connection with our middle infield partner, the second baseman. So, for my favorite person to play with I will say it was Anders Goetz. Without Goetzy I wouldn’t have been able to make such exciting plays in the field. Honestly, he is one of the best players I’ve ever played with, and he brings a spark to the team that was a huge part to our success all season.
Kemp: Favorite person to play with in my four years here has probably been Sam Caruso … His ability to track down baseballs in center field was something everyone enjoyed to watch. As pitchers, we always appreciate great defense, and when Sammy is in the game we know that is what we are going to get.
Rhoda: Seth Roberts, fellow 205 member.
Roberts: Middle infielders Dylan Katz-Wicks and Anders Goetz. They made pitching easy because of all the greats plays they made behind me.
Best off-field memory
Barretto: We had our annual team dinner with members of our family down in Florida this season. Justin Lloyd was able to fly down to Florida days after having surgery in his fight against cancer. I sat next to Justin during dinner and was so happy that he was able to come down to watch us play and spend time with his team. Justin was our inspiration all season and he is the bravest person I know.
Cohen: Without a doubt my sophomore year in Florida on our spring break trip. We all went to Universal Studios and I got my first taste of Butterbeer…since then, nothing has been the same.
Heck: The best off the field memory I had were listening to our pump-up and cool-down music in the locker before and after games. ‘Bugatti’ and ‘Land Down Under’ will hold a special place in my heart forever.
Katz-Wicks: The best off-field memory for me this year was having Justin Lloyd come down to Florida during our spring break trip. He truly shows his love and commitment for our team, and was the reason why we were driven to do so well this year. He is dealing with the biggest battle of his life, and it means so much to the rest of us to have him supporting us both from home and in the dugout every single day.
Kemp: Best off field memory was probably all the beach volleyball we used to crush down in Florida for four years.
Rhoda: Squirt gun incident in Florida freshman year.
Roberts: The revealing of our team’s award in the locker room before playoffs for being the most energetic and enthusiastic team during the regular season.
Parting words for the team
Baretto: For the returners, I want to say thank you for all of the memories. Turning the program around was no small task, and it was an honor to play with each and every one of you guys. Also, go out and win the league tournament next year. I want nothing more than to see a photograph of the boys holding that trophy up. Union Baseball has arrived and is here to stay. Next year’s team will prove that to everyone.
Cohen: Play every out with a high level of passion, insanity and intensity. Grind through the off-season, the field house and the early morning lifts, because after our championship loss this season, you all know how worth it it will be and how sweet it will taste when you guys are holding up the championship plaque and RPI and every other team in the league can do nothing but watch. Rely on each other on and off the field, and never forget that we are always LloydStrong.
Heck: Union Baseball has come a long way in the four years I have been here, and the years to come look even better with all the talent we have. Keep it up psychos, it only goes up from here.
Katz-Wicks: The program is only headed up, and I know you guys will be back to the championship next year and come out on top. Just keep working hard, relax and have fun. I’ll miss this game more than anything, but it was a hell of a ride and I love you all.
Kemp: To the returners I’d like to say to enjoy the run while it lasts. You don’t realize how fast the time here flies until it’s actually over. But, in these short 4 years we have developed a lifetime of memories, and I cannot think of a better group of guys to have gone to battle with.
Rhoda: This year we have made it a precedent that this is more than just a team, that it is a family, a band of brothers. As we leave and new players come into our family, welcome them as we did to each and every one of you and win the first Liberty League title in school history.
Roberts: Keep up the enthusiasm and hard work, teams will be coming for Union from now on.