Over spring break, the GDS men’s varsity and junior-varsity baseball teams left for Florida for a four-day trip to Disney World to kick off their season. The trip is an annual tradition for the teams but has been called off in recent years due to COVID.
The teams faced several logistical issues during the four days. On the first day, sophomore Cole Huh got caught in the long wait at security at the airport and missed the teams’ flight. However, he got to Orlando only a couple of hours later on the next flight. (Huh is a reporter for the Bit.)
There also had not been a bus arranged for the teams’ transportation around Florida, so the players commuted to their various activity areas separately via Uber, according to senior Miles Huh.
The teams split their trip into two: they spent one half at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park and the other at Disney World’s EPCOT. Members of the teams were impressed by the Magic Kingdom’s hotel but especially enjoyed the all-you-can-eat buffet at the EPCOT hotel, according to several players.
Each day, the teams had two baseball sessions—one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The sessions included team practices and games against schools from other states. Following each day’s baseball activities, the players went to one of the Disney World parks.
Over the course of the trip, the varsity team played four scrimmages against three different schools and ended with a record of 1–3. The opposing teams proved a great challenge for the newly assembled GDS team, and yielded much progress for the Hoppers. “They always come out better,” Todd Carter, head coach of the team, said of players’ improvement.
Despite their packed schedule, the varsity and junior-varsity teams found time for various bonding activities, such as group discussions, meals and board games. Senior Max Burns highlighted the importance of the team spirit that the trip provided. “Without Florida, the team bond is weaker,” he said. Burns also reflected on the recent years when COVID caused the cancellation of the trip, saying that the team had not had as close of a bond as it did in the years when the players went to Florida. He said that before the trip, he had been anticipating the positive change that the “amazing opportunity” would bring to the upcoming season.
After getting to know the other members of the team better, Burns and two other varsity players said that they expect to have a promising lineup that is more offensively inclined than in previous years. “We have some of the best bats I’ve seen in my years here,” Burns said.
Miles Huh was more hesitant about the team’s possible success, citing the recent injuries sustained by junior Ben Carter and freshman Eli Zucker. However, Huh expects the team to bounce back.
While it’s hard to tell how the season will turn out so early, Todd Carter said that he sees the potential for a great team. He also said he believes in the importance of a competitive mentality in order to win. “We have all the pieces; it’s just a matter of keeping everyone healthy and performing on game day,” he said.