The Will to succeed |

The Will to succeed

John HartNevada Union senior Will Lindsey (at bat) has been a pleasant surprise in this, his first full season with the Miners' baseball team. The center fielder is tops on the team in average, runs, and RBIs.
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When it comes to baseball, Grass Valley resident Will Lindsey is driven.

After three unsuccessful attempts to fulfill plans to play a full season with Nevada Union High School’s baseball team, Lindsey has not only cracked the starting lineup for the Miners as a senior, he has blossomed.

The senior center fielder currently leads the team in batting average (.377), runs (18) and RBIs (16). Yet for the past two seasons Lindsey has had to watch the Miners play from the stands, not because of injury, but because he was cut from junior varsity and varsity rosters.

Lindsey’s improvement as a player was certified this week when he was selected along with teammate Evelio Fleitas to play in the Optimist All-Star game next month in Sacramento.

“When I heard about (the Optimist selection), it was the happiest that I’ve been that I can remember,” Lindsey said.

His vast development has certainly turned some heads, none more than NU baseball coach Ted White, who has watched Lindsey’s improvement from role player in Legion baseball in the summer to starter in fall baseball last year, on to this spring where he now hits lead-off for the Miners.

“What he has done this year doesn’t happen very much,” White said. “The thing that happens a lot of times is that if players get cut junior year, they don’t go out their senior year. But he was determined.”

Lindsey loves baseball with a passion, so much so that it is hard for him to put into words what it means for him to grab a bat, chase down a fly ball, or simply wear the Miner pinstripes.

Perhaps Lindsey expresses his love of the game best on the diamond, where he plays in an animated style, feeling in every bone of his body the joy and heartache the sport of baseball brings.

Lindsey went hitless in a 4-3 upset of Del Campo Tuesday. As the game went into the latter innings, Lindsey could be seen during his team’s time at the plate hitting soft tosses into a net, working on his stance from the left side of the plate, his swing and follow-through, anything to help the Miners hang on to the win.

After games, he often will go home and review videotapes of the game made by his parents, for Lindsey has learned that when it comes to baseball, the little things can make a huge difference.

“Having a good mental game is important,” Lindsey said. “And little things like breathing, being relaxed, help. As a lead-off hitter, I think it helps to be a little cocky at the plate.”

White initially pencilled Lindsey in as a No. 7 hitter early in the season, but as the season wore on, White thought it just made sense to move him up in the lineup, first as a No. 2 hitter and eventually to the lead-off spot. White said Lindsey has only struck out six times this season, and has yet to be caught stealing.

“He opened my eyes last summer,” White said. “He has great balance at the plate, but is not a typical lead-off hitter because he can really hit the ball. We need him at the top because he always finds a way to get on base, and is always putting the ball in play.”

Lindsey is the only senior in the Miners’ outfield that he primarily shares with juniors Chris Brown and Cody Godfrey. In Tuesday’s game, Lindsey ran down the first out of the game on a fly to deep center, and nearly made a highlight reel catch in his attempt to rob a Cougar of a home run late in the game.

“I’ve always visualized robbing someone of a home run at the fence,” Lindsey said. “I felt the ball hitting the tip of the glove, but when my arm hit the top of the fence, it shook the ball loose.”

As the baseball season heads into its late innings, Lindsey is well on his way to maintaining his goals of leading the team in hits and runs, as well as hitting .400. For Lindsey, the basic goal of just making the team this year seems a distant memory, something once coveted, but now fully realized.

“If you love something so much, you don’t quit,” Lindsey said after Tuesday’s win. “Baseball is too much fun.”

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