Next year, TAS will join other member schools in IASAS fast-pitch softball and baseball after over 33 years of playing slow-pitch softball. This year, TAS will not participate in the IASAS event; the Athletics Department cited safety concerns for the delay. Despite this news, the team continued to work on their baseball skills in preparation for future opportunities. “There were many logistical changes to be made,” says varsity coach Mr. Thornberg. “One extra year just provided our players with an opportunity to get faster, stronger, and to work on technique.”
Mr. Thornberg, who has coached high school baseball for nearly 20 years, is excited for the season and what it might bring for players. “For TAS athletes, IASAS is really more than just a sporting event,” he says. “It is about building sportsmanship, and a special community within our conference of schools…they drive programs to excel.”
Paul Chang, a TAS alumnus who played in the slow-pitch softball program, is now a pitcher on the University of Chicago’s baseball team. “I wish I had the opportunity to play baseball in high school to better prepare myself for collegiate sports,” he says. “So I’m glad that younger athletes get this opportunity.”
Current students also eagerly anticipate the next season. “I’ve always enjoyed baseball most, so I’m glad I get to play it in the future,” says current freshman Joseph Lin.
The new versions of the game are much more fast-paced, with different skill sets required: when pitches no longer sail in a slow arc at the batter, a wild pitch could result in a strike to the head or the body. To succeed in baseball and fast-pitch softball, prospective players at IASAS must do more to understand the game. “My advice would be to play a lot on the off season whether that be doing SST, non-TAS teams, or just playing with friends on the weekends,” says current varsity athlete Paul Imbrogulio (12). “One season isn’t enough to really develop the skills needed, so players should spend as much time as possible getting to know the game.”
No matter where TAS competes for baseball and softball, the members of the team hope to see success at next year’s IASAS games. “I’m excited to watch the new team members compete next year, and I think they’ll do well,” says Imbrogulio.
Mr. Thornberg hopes to continue fostering a love for the sport. “The older I get, the more I appreciate the subtle things that make the game great,” he says. “My favorite part of coaching is teaching these subtleties to my players so they can learn to love the game, too.”