High Five: Cherry shows his versatility on the diamond

Published 9:09 am Saturday, April 22, 2023

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Washington High School senior Austin Cherry started playing baseball as soon as he was eligible for the Washington Youth Baseball League. However, his soccer career didn’t start until he started high school. The National Honor Society student reflects on his dual careers with an eye toward the future.

  1. After playing baseball your entire life, what made you decide to play high school soccer?

Austin: I played football at P.S. Jones and got tired of it. I knew I wanted to play a fall sport in high school and I knew soccer would be a good way to stay in shape for baseball. My dad and Coach Kozuch encouraged me to play, so I did. I thought it would be awful, but it turned out to be a great four years.

  1. Why did you decide to stay with it after your freshman year?

Austin: I had such a good time with my teammates and Coach Kozuch is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had in any sport. He taught me how to play and figured out defense was where I could help the team the most.

It was a lot of fun making deep runs in the playoffs and I actually scored my only career goal this year against West Carteret after a corner kick. I celebrated like it was a walk-off home run.

  1. Catcher has been your primary position, but you’ve played everywhere this year, including pitching. Do you still consider yourself a catcher?

Austin: Yes. I enjoy playing the other positions if that’s what’s best for us to win, but most of my experience has come behind the plate. I like defense in general better than hitting because it’s less stressful and you have to think.

When I’m catching, I’m always looking where the batter stands in the box to figure out the best pitch to throw him and it’s fun to throw runners out when they try to steal.

  1. Do your plans after graduation include baseball?

Austin: I hope so. I would like to play at Pitt or another community college and see where that takes me. Science has always been my favorite subject and I’d like to go into the medical field. Nursing, Radiology, Biology, something related to that. I’ve contacted around a dozen college coaches to gauge interest, so hopefully I will keep playing somewhere.

  1. What are your thoughts on the rule changes in major league baseball and what teams and players do you follow?

Austin: My dad is from Chicago, so we are a Cubs family. I like J.T. Realmuto of the Phillies because I think he’s the best catcher in baseball and Ronald Acuna, Jr. of the Braves because he’s fun to watch. I really like the pitch clock because the game moves faster and it’s more interesting to watch.

Bonus Question: Who is your favorite superhero?

Austin: Spiderman, because he’s the most relatable for teenagers. He struggles like a regular human, but uses his superpowers to help people. Andrew Garfield is my favorite actor who played Spiderman. I’ve taken some grief over that, but I liked him in that role.