Croson leads baseball squad

Gavin Cranford, Staff Reporter

Leadership is an important component of every team. Senior Garrett Croson was elected team captain at the beginning of the season by his coaches, and he has proved them right.
“It’s good to influence the younger guys on the team,” Croson said. “I have to help guide them and do my best to make them better players.”
Head coach Bob Martin has seen what Croson could do on the field since his sophomore year, his first year of varsity baseball. But he was chosen as captain for what he could do off the field and how he could influence his teammates.
“He was elected as captain for his leadership qualitites and the respect he gets from his teammates,” Martin said. “His communication with other players is great and he has done a great job mentoring some of the younger players.”
Croson began playing when he was just five years old. His father was a huge influence on him and gave him the will to win and to never stop trying.
“My dad taught me the basics growing up,” Croson said. “He dedicated a lot of his time to making me a better player.”
Crosan plays shortstop, second base, and pitches for this year’s squad. He has had to fill in multiple spots due to the injuries of teammates, but being able to fight through adversity is something other team members appreciate about him.
“Garrett is a really strong leader. He has played for so many years and knows the ropes,” sophomore Ryan Simpson said. “His experience and dedication makes him a better player. The amount of work he puts in really shows.”
Freshman teammate Ty Pavlock agrees that Croson is a crucial part of the team, who is always encouraging everyone.
“He’s a great vocal leader and a good role model in the locker room,” Pavlock said. “He spends a lot of time helping us out, especially at Saturday practices.”
Croson works to improve himself, and the rest of the team, too. His work ethic pushes everyone to do their best.
“The mental part is easy for me. Knowing baseball comes naturally for me since I have played for so many years,” Croson said. “The hard part is going out and working everyday. But I still enjoy it.”
Getting on base, making solid contact every time he is at bat, and making sure his swing stays consistent are the aspects of his game that Croson seeks to improve. As for the team, they are just focusing on getting better as a unit, and Croson wants to be a role model.
“I just need to be consistent,” Croson said. “I’m the captain, so it’s my job to set the example, and [staying consistent] is how you win games.”
Croson’s busy academic schedule mirrors his busy practice schedule. Despite three-hour practices and playing games during the week, he still considers school work a priority.
“Time management is really important,” Croson said. “You have to make sure you make use of all the free time you get. Keeping your grades up is important.”
In Croson’s favorite class, Advanced Sports Marketing, he enjoys sharing his love for sports with his friends. He is a National Honor Society member and the DECA treasurer. DECA Adviser Kathleen Evans has worked with Croson throughout his senior year.
“Garrett has a strong work ethic. He knows when to have fun and when to work,” Evans said. “He takes a rigorous work schedule and sets his priorities. He makes time for baseball and all of his other activities. As a person, he has a great sense of humor and he is just very reliable.”
Croson placed at DECA State Competition this year and qualified to compete at nationals. He plans on attending James Madison University in the fall where he wants to major in sports management and minor in coaching. As for his baseball career, he plans on trying out for the Dukes baseball team as a walk-on.
“My mom really pushed me to take hard classes and that’s what ultimately got me into JMU,” Croson said. “Ideally, I would love to be a director of player development for a major league team. That’s kind of my dream job, but we’ll have to see how it all works out.”