ADDISON – Christian Grabowski is stepping into a big role for the Addison Trail baseball program.
The senior two-way player emerged as a leader on and off the field for the Blazers during the team's summer season, which ended on July 15. Grabowski took the mound and was the victim of five unearned runs in AT's 6-1 loss against Nazareth in the opening game of the summer state playoffs.
Grabowski, who should also play a big role for the football team as a wide receiver in the fall, was an all-district player for the summer season. His on-field performance was strong, but he is still adjusting to the new leadership role.
"It's exciting to know that you're the top dog, everyone looks up to you," Grabowski said. "It should be interesting [next spring]. I'm excited for it."
This summer, the Blazers worked in a number of juniors into a roster that also included a few senior returners, including second baseman Jaime Valdez. Incoming sophomore lefty Nick Villasenor also impressed on the mound.
"The summer was good," coach Michael Kennedy said. "Some of our juniors really stepped up and they're playing some nice ball. Some of our seniors kind of molded into that leadership role. Grabs [Grabowski] has been doing a great job on the mound."
Kennedy's theme this summer was similar to that of the past spring. The Blazers can't afford to make mistakes in the field that give teams extra outs. While wins and losses aren't necessarily the first priority in summer, the loss to Nazareth highlighted that AT still needs to improve on that aspect of the game.
However, the coach remains optimistic about the talent the team has.
"We could be a pretty good team this spring," Kennedy said. "I think we got a lot coming back, and we got to put some of our juniors that are going to really contribute right away with a lot of our seniors returning."
The different atmosphere of the summer is built around helping players develop while they also juggle participation in other sports and baseball travel tournaments on the weekends.
"It's laid back a little more, but we still have the competitive atmosphere going," Grabowski said. "It's just to get together with the new juniors and get them up to speed with us. Then you can start jelling together. It definitely helps a lot."
Sports to your phone Visit http://shawurl.com/texts to sign up and receive sports scores and alerts from Suburban Life.