By Laura Amato
Josh Vega has loved baseball for as long as he can remember. That love, however, has been tested more than once in the last few seasons.
Vega, a rising junior, plays high school ball at Christ the King and it’s been an up-and-down experience on the diamond with the Royals. The squad has struggled recently, finishing at the bottom of the Brooklyn-Queens standings last year, but Vega — who’s playing for the Midville Dodgers this summer — hasn’t lost his determination to be the best baseball player he can.
If anything, losing has taught Vega just how much he enjoys the sport.
“I just try to focus on my game,” Vega said. “Obviously I want the team to win and I don’t want to be losing all the time or anything, but when it comes down to it, I’m trying to better myself. I want to get a scholarship and maybe even work towards the big leagues.”
Vega, a right-handed pitcher, started playing years ago. When he first stepped onto the field with his father, he immediately knew he’d found his sport.
“I started playing when I was three years old,” Vega said. “My dad brought me into it and, to be honest, I didn’t have much of a choice. I really don’t think he asked me what I wanted to play. I just ended up playing baseball and I stuck with it.”
Vega admits that the Royals’ recent struggles on the field haven’t always been easy to contend with, but the opportunity to compete this summer has given him another chance to improve his game.
Midville plays a jam-packed schedule from June to August, competing in a handful of tournaments across the Northeast and facing off against top-tier competition. It’s a challenge, but one Vega is embracing with a fastball that’s improving every time he steps onto the mound.
In four early-summer games with Midville, Vega recorded 8.1 innings on the mound, picking up one win and two saves. He also racked up 13 strikeouts and surrendered just two hits.
“It’s great,” Vega said of his experience with Midville. “Most people don’t have this opportunity to play on a summer team. They’re just playing fall and stuff like that, so that’s a huge help for me.”
The key for Vega, both this summer and when he returns to Christ the King, is to focus on the little things; the small aspects of his game that can dictate the difference between a win or a loss. It’s those little things that have kept him suiting up for more than a decade.
“It’s a game of inches,” Vega said. “You have to be exact almost every time. One mistake could lose a game, but one mistake could win a game too. I really love that.”
Vega isn’t looking too far ahead — he’s enjoying summer vacation and a full slate of games with Midville in the next few weeks — but he’s got his sights set on another spring with the Royals next year. He knows change will take some time, but Vega is hoping it can start with him.
“I know I can bring my talent to Christ the King,” he said. “Maybe even teach a little bit, so I’m really looking forward to getting back into it.”