Freshman initiation highlights spring break trip for baseball team

by Billy Weathers

A 20-plus hour drive, a few nights in an expensive hotel, numerous players needing to be fed all add up to a pretty lengthy tab, but building team chemistry and a brotherhood that last forever, priceless.

During spring break while hundreds of other Simpson students were enjoying time off and soaking up the sun in Florida, the baseball team was taking the field preparing for the Iowa Conference season.

In previous years, the team has traveled to Phoenix, but this year they took the field in Tucson. The complex that Simpson played at was the former Spring Training site for the Chicago White Sox.

“Arizona is perfect this time of year so it is the beset spot to go play baseball for spring break,” said senior Tyler Crandell. “It was in the low 80’s the entire time with a lot of sun and mountains all around the city.”

But before getting to beautiful weather, there’s the dreadful 24-hour bus ride. Luckily, they were able to spend the first night in New Mexico, so they avoided the entire ride.

“A lot of movies and a lot uncomfortable sleeping positions, along with a drive that never seems to end,” said Crandell.

After playing a few games they got a few nights to relax and just kick back. With the time off that they had, it made for perfect team bonding.

“We have a really tight knit team and I think everybody had a lot of fun playing and being around the team,” said senior Blake Heitmeier. “It’s hard to pick out one single memory, whether it was playing, the pranks or sitting out by the pool, it was a fun experience.”

Not only did they get to experience the beautiful weather, but they also got to use state-of-the-art facilities while down there. They also got a chance to play in the Tucson Sidewinder Stadium for the last game.

On the third night the entire team went our on the town to celebrate their wins and bond more as a team. They also spent sometime going to witness Division I players in action.

After a good night out on the town, the team capped it off with a three-mile team run the next morning to work all the kinks out.

And like every year, the freshman had their “initiation.” Nothing bad, by any means, but it’s a baseball tradition that isn’t discussed outside the team. The only hint given out was from senior set-up man Junior Rodriguez was that the freshman harmonized well together.

Simpson starts out their Iowa play with one more non-conference game at William Penn on Tuesday.