From left to right: Teammates Berto Diaz ‘16 and Connor Speed ‘18 display their unique blonde look. (John Neufeld/The Bates Student)

From left to right: Teammates Berto Diaz ‘16 and
Connor Speed ‘18 display their unique blonde look.
(John Neufeld/The Bates Student)

I’m sure you’ve seen them around school. Bleached hair and frosted tips. No, they are not members of ’90s boy bands, but members of our baseball team who have adopted a new look for the season. Senior Berto Diaz started the movement after brainstorming with his roommate, sophomore Connor Speed. Diaz says he has always been pretty hype about swag. Freshman year it was all neon everything. Sophomore year it was a Mohawk. Junior year he was running for student body president and toned it down. Senior year is the bleached look.

“I was a little apprehensive at first, but I would have to admit, it’s beginning to grow on me,” Diaz said. “I figured since this is my last year that I will be playing baseball I should have some fun. This is realistically the last year that I’d be able to do something like this because everything is professional after I graduate. So long story… Why not?”

Has the hairstyle been a good luck charm for the team? The team returns from their California trip with a 3-2 record, which is impressive considering the new style of play the team is adopting.

According to Diaz, the Bobcats are “trying to be the most annoying team to play against. That means getting our lead off man on, bunting, executing hit-and-runs, stealing bases, and generating runs by being as aggressive as we possibly can.”

The team has some great senior pitchers but graduated two big hitters last year, Sam Berry and Nate Pajka, and is now going for a small ball offense. The new mentality comes from head coach Mike Leonard, who has stressed the aggression the team needs to play with to get the most out of their talents.

Diaz continued, “It’s the little things this year that will win us games. It’s the little things that will make this team the best that Bates has ever had. It’s the little things that will bring a NESCAC title, and we have bought into that.”

The team has the same mentality, and the unity is palpable. “As far as chemistry, our team hasn’t been more connected,” Diaz said. The freshman class is not only a great addition on the field, but the personalities and flair that they collectively bring aid in the overall success we are having. In my four years I have not been part of a more positive and success hungry team. We all work hard and help elevate each other.”

The team is looking to use their new style of play and mentality to go all the way to the NESCAC title. They certainly have the talent. Next up for the squad is a trip to Florida, but their first home game is April 2 against Tufts.