DECEMBER 2022 – Janiel Coto, Puerto Rico
We’re in the last inning of the year! What was the most inspiring, amazing, exciting, unforgettable baseball story of 2022? … Professional, collegiate, high school, recreational, or even in your backyard… Don’t just tell us the story – let us know why it’s the best story of the year for you. Good luck!
Janiel Coto from Puerto Rico is our December Contest Winner!
He plays outfield, first base, and catcher, and roots for the NY Mets. Congratulations, Janiel!
“I didn’t let others decide my actions in the game, I didn’t let them get to my nerves. That’s very important in sports…and in life!”
There was this time when I had to face a lefty pitcher versus me, a left-handed batter (actually, I am a switch hitter, but let’s not spoil the story for you) …
The situation: Bottom of the 9th, the score is tied, runner on first with two outs, and I’m facing this pitcher who struck me out at the last at-bat (as a righty). I step in the batters’ box, and the first pitch I see is literally on top of me. Scared, I jumped off. “Strike,” yells the umpire. Confused, I step again. Same pitch, same reaction, same call. I did not know what to do – it’s my first time trying to hit with a lefty. My Dad being the first base coach, seeing me overwhelmed, called me and said, “Don’t worry if you fail, it’s the first time you try something new, just flow with it.” And flow with it I did.
The next pitch was a ball that almost caught the corner, but a ball it was. My initial thought was: “I’m gonna swing in the next pitch.” The pitcher was confident I wouldn’t swing the next pitch if he threw it like the first two. But, oh, was he wrong. I swung at the exact same pitch as the first two, and it got some barrel.
Everything went quiet because the other team was mocking my inability to bat a lefty. I started to run, and when the ball hit just the call of the line, the umpire says, “fair ball,” and off to the horses my friend goes…
We won the game, in wall-off fashion, my friend scoring from first. And all the other team could do is leave in defeat. It actually felt good to shut some mouths that way by winning. But, I think that this story is the best of my year because I did not let others decide my actions in my game plan, I did not let them get to my nerves. That’s called discipline, and it’s very important in sports, and in life!