Seabreeze Sandcrabs' JV baseball team's head coach Colin Lombardoni attributes their success to focus on mental and physical health.
The Seabreeze Sandcrabs’ junior varsity baseball team wrapped up their game against the Matanzas’ Pirates Monday, March 29 with a 4-2 win and a 6-2 win against the St. Augustine Yellow Jackets Tuesday, March 30, putting them currently 12-0-1 for the season.
Pitcher Zane Barron, outfielder Ayden Bowers and short stop Ryan Sparks scored a total of 4 runs against Matanzas but head coach Colin Lombardoni put the win aside and addressed the errors that had resulted in the Pirates’ runs. It was all about the cleanup routine and 20 minute conditioning drills following the coach’s lecture.
Lombardoni’s college baseball career at Fulton Montgomery Community College was cut short by a knee injury sustained in his junior year playing a pick-up basketball game in which he tore his ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus at 21 years old. He still has nightmares about the popping sound and the life changes that ensued. Johnstown, the small upstate New York community he grew up in, had supported his dream of getting to the show to play professional baseball and he felt he had let them down. It was also what motivated him to become a personal trainer in 2013. He wanted to help young athletes prevent injuries, help them move properly and provide knowledge regarding nutritional health and well-being.
“I am here to be a resource for them,” Lombardoni said. “Some of them message me at night asking me what to eat and how to stretch. I would have done anything to have access to that information at their age. Basically, I eat, sleep and drink this.”
Sixteen-year-old catcher Dylan Cavanaugh, better known as "Cavie," and 15-year-old center fielder Zach Banks or "Banksy," as his teammates sometimes call him, were chosen by the team to be this season’s captains. Cavanaugh is outgoing and has a constant smile on his face while Banks is more serious and contemplative. The two offer the perfect balance for their baseball brethren and support one another entirely. Both captains agree that to be a leader, it is important to lead both on and off the field, and that the greatest baseball movie is definitely "Sandlot." The sophomores are looking forward to playing on Seabreeze’s varsity team next season. Cavanaugh believes they are part of the solution to change at Seabreeze.
“We need to change the (past) culture,” Cavanaugh said. “Junior and senior players were being disrespectful to incoming freshman and they are the future team.”
Lombardoni attributes the team's success to a mindset that cultivates mental and physical health along with the development of good human beings. Part of their pre-game preparation is a mental health two minute meditation which he attributes to the Vanderbilt baseball team’s practices.
“Our record is a reflection of developing these guys into young men and telling them their phone is their enemy,” said Lombardoni. “Our top priority is getting them outside of baseball hanging out with each other and off social media. It also helps that this is a homegrown team, meaning the kids do not travel an hour to an hour and a half to play for Seabreeze. They are from here. They will stay a homegrown team.”