Undefeated Strawberry Crest baseball team focused on here and now

There is a pair of speakers pointed out the window of the Strawberry Crest baseball press box. The musical choices during practice are varied: classic rock, metal, country. The volume is steady and loud.

It's music to work to and the Chargers work.

Senior left-fielder J.T. Hancovsky says the music keeps the team locked-in.

"It just keeps on track," says J.T. "You go to the gym and work out, you've got music playing and stuff. Same thing out here. Just got to have fun. Relax."

It's that state of physical relaxation and mental sharpness that has propelled Strawberry Crest onto the state scene these past few years. The Chargers went to state in 2018 and 2019, missing out last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2019 team made it into the state championship game but lost to Plant City 3-1.

The goals for 2021 are all still attainable, but the team is focusing on the first step before moving ahead with grander plans.

"I want to win that district championship first," says senior pitcher Coly Fanning.

The team is undefeated in 6-A District 8 play.

"And then worry about regionals," Fanning continues. "Then worry about states. I don't want to get too big and worry about states right away. Just want to get that district title under our belts."

Strawberry Crest is led by head coach Eric Beattie, who starred at the University of Tampa and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the second round of the MLB draft in 2004.

Beattie is able to call upon that situational experience when imparting the nuances of the game.

"It's pretty awesome," says senior pitcher Bryan Boully. "I feel like a lot of people don't get the same opportunity that we do. It's definitely not something taken for granted. He's just very helpful, if you're struggling with something, he'll help you out."

The Chargers are currently in first place in the district. But there is a lot of baseball left to play and a lot of practices featuring music, work, and fellowship.

Senior first baseman Daniel Lastres shared what he will carry with him from his time at Strawberry Crest.                

"Multiple things: leadership, dedication, and hard work," Lastres explained.

These are the qualities needed to succeed at any level, in any endeavor.