While 2021 presents a promise for student-athletes to return to their respective sports, it still remains unclear when athletics at Fitchburg State will return to its old form. For freshman and sophomore athletes at FSU, the break in athletics has presented a major challenge. The transition from high school to college is daunting enough for most, let alone during a global pandemic.
Despite the lack of games and the obstacles that have been thrown their way, athletes across the FSU community have continued to show their dedication to the sports they love.
Sophomore Jaime Velez, an infielder for the FSU baseball team is ready for the return of baseball despite the long layoff. Velez is no stranger to the grind of the baseball season, having played for 16 years as a middle infielder, with shortstop being his primary position. After graduating from Lowell high school, playing at FSU was the next challenge Velez was determined to take on.
“My experience playing at FSU is a lot different from high school. It’s a lot of fun.” Said Velez
When asked about his experience at FSU. “Just meeting new teammates and creating a bond with them is great. We call each other “family” and that’s what this team is about. learning what it takes to be a great team and what it takes to win a MASCAC championship.”
The dedication to winning is what drives Velez to continue to grow on and off the field. When not playing baseball he stressed the importance of building a relationship off the field with his teammates, as well as prioritizing his schoolwork, while also balancing a social life.
Velez’s commitment to winning, but more importantly his commitment to his team is what makes him stand out the most. When talking about his high school baseball career, Velez said one moment stood out the most that sums up what type of player he is.
“I just left it out there for my team and I played the best game in my high school career,” Velez said about a super eight-game he played in against Boston College Highschool. “We lost by one, but we did everything we could, but that was such a big moment in my life because every year since our freshman year we always wanted to make it to super 8 and that was our main goal and we finally made it and it was the best feeling ever.”
Despite losing the game the emphasis on his team’s accomplishments stood out as a sign of a true team player. Velez made a point of crediting his parents for pushing him to be better not only in baseball but in life. He also noted his father played baseball in Puerto Rico growing up, and he wants to carry out his dream of becoming a professional.
“When baseball was canceled because of Covid it was tough because I never got to experience a full college career yet and not doing what you love for a long time was tough as well.” Velez said on what it’s been like not being able to play baseball. “But I found out ways to get better at home like working out and getting some swings off the tea at home. But I’m very excited that we are finally back at it.”
When baseball does resume Jaime Velez is certainly a name to keep an eye on. Whether it’s hyping his team up pregame, or leaving it all out on the diamond, he holds nothing back when it comes to the game he loves.