Catcher steps up to plate to lead team

The sounds of cleats scrape the gravel mix with the cheering crowd in perfect harmony. The bright LED lights illuminate the field like spotlights on the players. The diamond is where most baseball players feel at home, but being out on the field isn’t always so easy. Every team requires a strong leader to get them where they need to be in the game. Teammates and coaches believe senior catcher Holt Van Etten fulfills the role of leader for the Viking varsity baseball team.

“A catcher should be [a leader] because he’s right out in front of everybody on the team,” varsity baseball coach David Powers said. “Holt is that leader for our team.”

In addition to Holt’s position on the team putting him in a leadership role, his attitude on the field adds another layer by him being able to lead through his actions.

“[Holt] does a lot for our team,” junior baseball player Landon Minor said. “When he leads, we follow by his example and by that he gives us a winning nature.”

From his freshman to his senior year, Holt has worked his way to the top of the varsity team by putting in the time and effort to improve.

“[Holt] did really well as a sophomore and played on varsity a little, but struggled a bit because he was in over his head since he was so young,” Powers said. “During his junior year though, we had a catcher that was better and [Holt] played a new position and was challenged by it and stepped up to the plate. He’s changed a great deal, [he’s gone] from an above average to an exceptional ball player that colleges are looking at.”

In order for the well-oiled mechanics of a baseball team to work, there must be a strong and responsible leader of the team and Holt has stepped up to the plate to fulfill his role.

“I get to guide the team,” Holt said. “Catchers are the eyes of the field, and have to lead for things to run smoothly. It never gets boring.”

Through his position as leader and role model for the team, Holt strives not only to advance himself, but better his teammates as well.

“I pitch to [Holt], and we’ve learned a lot about each other in the past year,” Landon said. “He makes me a better pitcher and I make him a better catcher. During the season we have learned to read the batters and communicate which pitch to throw in different situations.”

Baseball itself isn’t the only part the players enjoy, but also what they gain in experiences on and off the field.

“I think [the best part about baseball] is the friendships you get to make,” Holt said. “All of your friends get together and play the sport that everyone loves and enjoys.”

The more a team plays together, the more comfortable they feel on the field, and evidence can be seen in their performance on the field.

“[The best part about this season] was how we started off slow and [how we] got better and better each game,” Holt said. “It felt like we were getting closer as a team which could be seen in how we were playing.”

Like other sports, baseball comes with it’s trials and tribulations, and can be difficult for some players, but Holt’s attitude shows how anyone can beat the difficulties involved and push their team to win.

“When you lose a tough game, you have to pick yourself up and prepare for the next game,” Holt said.