The Transition of a Dynasty: Cerreta Seeks to Continue Tradition

An exclusive interview with Mr. Cerreta, the new head baseball coach

By Anthony Plochocki, Reporter

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This past week, I was given the honor to interview Mr. Cerreta. and unless you’ve been under rock, you would know that Mr. Magner retired from his coaching position and handed down the duty to Mr. Cerreta. Mr. Cerreta is honored to be the new coach and here are a few remarks that he had in terms of taking on the role of not only coaching, but rather, leading a dynasty.

Kestrel: From a coach’s point of view, what’s your hopeful outlook on how the season will be?

Mr. Cerreta: Overall, I want our team to be competitive, but more importantly, I want my players to learn a lot, and be good people on and off the field.   I want my players to be able to relate baseball to life and learn a lot.

K: In terms of the internal team (i.e. practice and overall team function) what philosophies do you have that are the same as Coach Magner?

C: It has to be, and always will be about the kids. I want to make them better, not only on the field, but off the field. I want the kids not only to be competitive players, I want them to be good players. Mr. Magner knew the game well, and he knew how to keep things simple, which is one thing I will strive for. Like he [Mr. Magner] said “just score more than them”. He also said “never give up, because you truly are never out of a game”, those words are true, and I will carry them on.

K: What ways do you differ from Coach Magner?

C: Organization! (laughs). I mean that in every way. I want a set practice structure, and I want to make individual improvement a priority for the kids.

K: Are you going to uphold your same standard for conditioning, as you did for freshman baseball, or do you anticipate change?

C: (Laughing) It’s definitely going to be up there, if anything, its going to be worse. The players are stronger and you obviously expect more from older, stronger, and more experienced players. The varsity game is different. You need to be physically fit, and part of that is being conditioned. Speed wins games, and more importantly, speed wins championships. Just to prove this, go back to the 2004 playoffs when the Red Sox played the Yanks. Whenever Dave Roberts got on base, he was off to the races no matter what the pitcher did. Roberts being in scoring position changed that series and was sadly the downfall for the Yanks. Speed literally turned that series around.

K: What would a typical practice be like?

C: Pre-practice run would begin around 5 till 4:00, after that, we would do dynamic and static stretches. After that, we would split up into individual parts of practice, like outfielders with outfielders and infielders with infielders. We would then have a team drill to end the practice. Finally, the infamous conditioning would come.

K: Any offseason plans?

C: You have to be in shape. Pre-Season conditioning is not the time to get in shape. By the time preseason comes around, everyone needs to be in shape. Off-season is the time to get to get stronger and be conditioned. Also, I obviously, want them to keep up with their academics and be good citizens in and out of Xavier. We also have team meetings, when we discuss the philosophical aspects of how our team is going to be.

K: As a Coach, what motto/mindset do you want to instill in your players? Why?

C: You have to be mentally tough. As people say baseball is a game of failure, you go up to the plate 10 times and you fail 7 of them, yet you are still “successful”. Granted, you’re going to have a bad game or bad practice, but what really separates the men from the boys is keeping that mental toughness. That’s one mindset that every baseball player needs.

K: Who is a coaching role model you look up to? Why?

C: I can think of many famous people, but I don’t know them personally, and whether or not they are good people at the personal level. So I’m just going to say one who we all know. Mr. Jaskot, he is a great coach. Anyone of his players always say how he has improved them as a person. That’s my main role as a coach. I want all of my players to learn a lot about life through baseball, as Mr. Jaskot was able to do through football. Mr. Jaskot made coaching so much more than just the game. He made it about the philosophy and education of the sport. He cared about each and every one of his players, which is what I intend to pursue as well.

K: What makes Xavier Baseball different from any other state baseball team?

C: We get people from all over the state, yet we are able to form a family-like bound in such a short time. With public school teams, you have kids who played with their peers since elementary, middle school and then up to high school ball. Xavier doesn’t have that advantage, more likely than not, our players were playing against each other, therefore, our bonds are formed in a matter of weeks rather than years, which is what the public schools have.

K: Are there any team, or personal goals you wish to reach this season?

C: The biggest team goal that I want is to be a family. We need to be and work as ONE UNIT. We need to all be working for that one goal, to win, all 7 innings. All the kids are saying is “we want a state title”. Obviously, I do too, but we aren’t going to reach that goal unless we reach our internal goals. We need team chemistry and we NEED to be a family. We also need to take it one step at a time. First, we need to worry about the season. We need to have a good record. Then we need to worry about the division, because we would love to defend our title as SCC champs, and then we can worry about the State Title. All this is good, but we need to stress that the only way we will get there is if we truly are a unit, a team, and most importantly, a family.

Words cannot describe how enthusiastic Mr. Cerreta is about being the new head coach. It is easy to tell that he is both excited and a bit nervous, but one thing we all know he will do, is that he will give it his all. That being said, The Kestrel gives Mr. Cerreta and the baseball team the best of luck this season, and hopefully, this interview gave a little insiders look on Mr. Cerreta’s point of view on being the new head coach and leading a dynasty.