By Laura Amato
They’ve got enough determination to melt the snow outside – eventually.
The Metropolitan Campus baseball team is prepping for its fourth season at the varsity level and the Knights, like every team across the city, has been contending with the up-and-down preseason weather, dealing with cancelled scrimmages and practices in the gym.
But the Knights are finding a way to make it all work and while the start of spring hasn’t exactly been picture-perfect, the squad is certain it’s all going to pay off.
“We’re molding together as a team and we need that. We need that fire,” junior Julian Kilichowski said. “We can’t get outside, we’re all in the gym together and that makes things a bit tougher. We don’t get the same experience or our drills in, but we’re all in there together. We’re in the same hole together and we pick each other up and we push through it.”
Metro boasts a core filled with experience this season, bringing back a majority of its roster from last year’s division-winning team. The key this spring is building on that experience.
That’s easier said than done when practices are spent in batting cages and the weight room, but the Knights have done their best to make the most out of every moment.
“It’s high school baseball in New York City, there are three levels and we’re at the lowest level of competition,” coach Ian Freed said. “We’re towards the top of our level, but the difference between people’s talent at this level is so tiny that you really look for those other things, those intangibles on who’s going to make the best team.”
The Knights pride themselves on being much more than just their box scores or even their win totals. Metro won 12 games last season and a playoff victory over Queens Vocational, but team isn’t always focused on that.
They’re focused on everything else – from their group chat to homework assignments to pushing each other to swing for the metaphorical and literal fences. Simply put, they’re a family and this season the Knights know that can be the difference-maker down the stretch.
“It’s important to have talent, but talent doesn’t mean anything if guys are fighting or not talking to each other on the bench or something,” senior first baseman Daniel Berman said. “Everyone is friends with everyone on this team and that’s a huge, huge thing. Anyone prepared to do anything to make this successful.”
Of course, the Knights are not lacking for talent either. Metro is anxious for the season to start – if only to show off its pitching depth.
“This team, can go six, seven, eight arms deep,” Freed said. “So I’m truly blessed by that. We have two freshmen this year who are good pitchers, good athletes and lefties. That’s something that I wake up and am very thankful for.”
Metro has its sights set on a city title this season, looking to take the program to the next level. There has been plenty of growth over the last four years and the Knights are as determined as ever, anxious to get out on the field and crack a few hits, even if there’s still a bit of snow on the ground.
“We have lots of energy to get back there, we want to play hard,” infielder Andrew Torres said. “Nothing is going to stop us from what we want to do.”