Senior year is full of lasts. Last Spring Break, last time walking through academic buildings you’ve spent countless hours in the past four years, last final exams. Mike Krick, catcher and captain of the Clarkson Baseball team, faces a new last every week. Last time playing against a rival school, last of the yearly team trips to Florida, and eventually he’ll face his last at bat.
He and the rest of the Baseball team just returned home from their yearly Florida trip, where they start off their season with eight games against other D3 clubs from across the country. After the flight home Krick recalls head coach Jim Kane telling the seniors “Well that’s it for you down here in Florida.” That’s when the finality of his final season playing baseball started to set in. “It’s pretty weird, honestly.” Krick said of realizing this is his final season, “It’s going to be a lot of lasts.”
On the thought that this is the last year of his son’s baseball career, “It’s kinda sad that it’s going to end but I just couldn’t be more proud of him sticking it out.” Tom Krick said. “He was never the star of any team but he just kept grinding and grinding and always found the opportunities when they came up and he stepped up into it.”
A few college players in a few colleges across the country will get the chance to continue their athletic careers post college, getting called up to minor league teams or even getting drafted into the major leagues. But for most, senior year of college also marks the last time competing in the sport they’ve played since childhood. “[Baseball’s] always been part of my life, it would just be weird not playing it.” Krick said.
Mike Krick has been playing baseball for as long as he’s been in school, starting tee-ball the same year he started kindergarten. Mike says his father has been there every step of the way of his baseball career, and says his dad has been his biggest influence throughout. “I always remember my dad coaching my teams from like, single A to when I was like 12 in little league, to travel teams as a teenager.” Mike said. “And when I was 12 years old our all star team made it pretty far in the tournament so that was a big moment for me.”
Mike’s dad had different memories of his time coaching Mike in little league. “He seemed to listen to other people better than he listened to me.” Tom said with a chuckle. “It was a thrill to watch him progress throughout the years.”
“[Baseball’s] always been part of my life, it would just be weird not playing it.” Krick said.
After four years of high school baseball, culminating in a Sectional Championship win his senior year, Mike wasn’t prepared for the changes that come with the next stage of competing in college. “The game’s just a lot more intense, things happen a lot faster. The competition is elevated.” Krick said.
College baseball is also much more of a time commitment than Mike was used to, and he struggled with adjusting. “Now that we’re in season we’re probably spending at least 20-25 hours a week practicing, hitting on our own, lifting, so it’s definitely a huge time commitment.” Krick said. “On game days we play double headers, a 7 inning game and a 9 inning game. We’re at the field from like 8am to 5 or 6 at night.”
He’s made some of his best friends after four years on the Clarkson team, but that came with time. Freshman year Mike says he felt like the odd man out and struggled to make friends.
“I was the only kid from Central New York pretty much. Freshman year was weird because I went in knowing absolutely no one. It was definitely scary going into it.” He said. “Right around our fall break I actually quit the team for a bit. I absolutely hated it, I didn’t know anyone, I wasn’t having fun. My parents talked to me and said I was going to make a big mistake and regret not playing anymore, so I went back, talked to my coach and got back on the team, but it was definitely a scary couple months.”
“I absolutely hated it, I didn’t know anyone, I wasn’t having fun… it was definitely a scary couple months.” Krick said.
“I was dissapointed.” Tom said when he heard Mike had quit the team. “I knew he would regret it, these are things that only come along once in a lifetime to have this opportunity and for him to walk away from that, it would’ve been one of those regretful lifetime moments.”
Mike returned to the team his freshman year and kept grinding. He found a starting role his junior year and got voted team captain his senior year.
Mike is grateful that his dad talked him back into joining the team, and for all his dad has done to help him grow into the player he is today “I definitely wouldn’t be in this position if he didn’t put some much work into me, help me and sacrifice so much.