Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
Rockville, MD
The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Sophomore+Matty+Stillman+getting+ready+to+face+a+pitch+in+game.+%0A
Jordan Levy
Sophomore Matty Stillman getting ready to face a pitch in game.

The varsity baseball team joined a fall baseball league for the first time in school history. The move to join the Montgomery County Baseball Association (MCBA), composed of travel teams, meant the competition was more challenging than many of the Potomac Valley Athletics Conference (PVAC) teams the Lions have faced in previous years. But the team is eager to add MCBA games during the fall, seeing as their PVAC season takes place in the spring. 

“I was super excited because I love playing baseball and I don’t play a sport in the fall,” junior Ezra Raskin said. “To be able to play a sport in the fall and get ready for the spring season with all my friends and coaches … was a super fun thing to think about doing so I was really excited.”

The new fall season helps the players can prepare for the spring season.

“The ultimate goal for our team this fall season was for all members of the team to get exposed to increased playing time and have the opportunity to enhance their skills as individuals and as a team,” Head Coach Matthew Landy (‘18) said. ”We wanted to put our team in the best position possible to achieve our ultimate goal come springtime: winning a PVAC championship.”

This new league, however, comes with more difficult competition than the PVAC, requiring that the players work harder and be prepared by the time the spring season rolls around.

“​​We’re definitely going against better competition, playing some pretty good high schools and public high schools,” Raskin said. “And we’re playing some legit teams, [but] I always expect us to do well.”

Because this new baseball season coincides with varsity soccer, they have fewer games than a typical spring season. The soccer teams practice and play on the same field as the baseball diamond, so the baseball team cannot host practices, which is not optimal considering many players haven’t played a lot of baseball over the summer.

“I knew that we’d be rusty, have some things to kind of brush up,” sophomore Ian Liss said. “The rust showed in the first week I think in the second week. As the weeks go on it has cleaned up, [and we have] just become better.”

Liss says that as much as full team practices are important, he believes the team will be fine because they are already well bonded since they played together last year. He also said that everyone was taking time and practicing individually to get better.

“I see a trainer. I’ve been with him for a while. I have the tee, workout, do resistance exercises and all that kind of stuff,” Liss said. “We do soft toss, the [pitching] machine and we’ll go through what I have to improve with my mechanics.”

Landy said that it was unfortunate that the team was not able to hold regular practices even though other teams were. However, he says that the players did an amazing job at practicing on their own whether it be by going to the batting cages, playing toss with a friend and other baseball related exercises.

Landy also hosts workouts in the weight room after school on Mondays and Wednesdays for strength and conditioning. Landy gives the players specific exercises he wants them to do depending on their positions. 

“I had always planned on holding off-season workouts for my team, so holding workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays was our best option as a team,” Landy said. “Deciding to hold off-season workouts has been great for our team, and participating players have significantly increased their baseball skills this fall.

Another change was that unlike past years, with the addition of a fall season, seniors are able to play baseball. Usually, the baseball season would coincide with their Israel trip, however, now they get another opportunity to play. This gives the team a level of leadership and experience which can be very beneficial.

At the end of the season the team racked up four wins, one tie, and six losses. They lost in the first round to the Fultron Gators, but they are determined to come back next year to win it all

“Joining the MCBA Fall league was an excellent experience for our team,” Landy said.“It is evident that our team has improved tremendously and had fun simultaneously. I hope we continue playing in the fall league for years to come, to continue growing our skills as a team, and most importantly, to continue developing the JDS Baseball program overall. I am tremendously proud of our players and have been quite impressed with their commitment and dedication to the game of baseball and our program.”

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