Simpson sits down with seasoned pitcher Eric Morse ‘14 and rookie player Lucas Valelly ‘16 to talk about America’s pastime and a fan-favorite sport at Rollins: baseball.
To gain further insight into the Rollins Baseball team, I sat down to talk with two players in a friendly joint interview: Lucas Valelly ‘16, who plays outfield and Eric Morse ‘14, pitcher, who transferred from University of Connecticut at Avery Point Junior College.
Valelly started playing baseball in 7th grade having played tennis previously, intending to follow in his father’s footsteps. His passion for baseball took root after a friend’s dad persuaded him to play school ball in middle school; it escalated as he continued to play through summer and all through high school, eventually leading to playing varsity. Morse, on the other hand, started playing ball much younger. He recalled that his love of baseball was set ablaze around the age of two when his godmother gave him a little bat set.
We’re a very talented team with a great deal of potential. – Eric Morse ’14
Both players share a favorite athlete: Dirk Nowitzki. When the two began to discuss Nowitzki, just a couple minutes into the interview, the conversation really lit up. Both at first were shocked at the realization that they shared this admiration. Morse revealed that he has a poster of Nowitzki proudly displayed on his wall, only to be one-upped by Valelly maintaining that his respect for Nowitzki stemmed simply from the fact that he is the exemplification of everything an athlete should be. My misspelling and butchering of Nowitzki’s name only made this incident more enjoyable.
When asked what they would be playing if they weren’t playing baseball, Valelly’s predictable response was tennis, and Morse’s astronomically comical response was horseshoes. This took us off into a conversation about unusual sports: everything from shin-kicking to chasing after a giant round of cheese rolling down a hill. The personalities of the two players struck me as even more delightful than what I’d already experienced from shared classes.
Their passion goes beyond the few questions-turned-anecdotes that we shared with one another. Their love for baseball as a sport and the Rollins College baseball team is clear. Valelly stated that, despite his initial interest in tennis, he instantly fell in love with baseball: “I just didn’t want to play anymore. It’s just like a single sport kind of thing, an individual sport and you don’t have any teammates; but with baseball you’ve got like twenty other guys on the team with you so it’s a lot of fun.” The regard these players have for the team as a whole is equally strong. As Morse stated, “We’re a very talented team with a great deal of potential” (even with twelve freshmen on the team this year).
The baseball team has a diverse background and Morse explained that the mesh of the different kinds of players and experiences is something great to work with. “It’s definitely a collective group. A lot of different personalities, a lot of different backgrounds, a lot of different stories. Everybody just comes together really well, and it’s a good mesh. Everybody just brings their own flavor to the mix. It’s a lot of fun.”
Sharing laughs, exchanging personal stories, and learning more about these two players really made me to want to attend more games. I encourage everyone to indulge in a nice ten-minute walk to the field and enjoy a great game of the “All-American Sport,” played by our very own guys.