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Scholar Athlete: Trinity sophomore looks to help team overcome inexperience

Trinity Episcopal tenth-grade student Cole Switzer pitches and and plays second base for the baseball team while also earning A’s and B’s. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Trinity Episcopal tenth-grade student Cole Switzer pitches and and plays second base for the baseball team while also earning A’s and B’s. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Trinity Episcopal Day School sophomore Cole Switzer knows he and his teammates are up against the ropes most of the time when they take the field, but that isn’t holding him back.

“We have one junior, no seniors and a bunch of sophomores and freshmen,” Switzer said. “You get looked down upon by other teams, because they have seniors that have already gotten college scholarships, but you just have to do what you have to do and try to win.”

Switzer also carries that attitude into the classroom, where he has been an A/B student his whole life.

“My parents pushed me first of all,” he said. “But it is just setting the foundation for the rest of my life.”

Switzer said academics top his list of priorities, even when it comes to giving up difficult things.

“I put (academics) before friends and other extracurricular activities,” he said. “It is pretty difficult, but it is worth it in the end.”

His dedication to academics has also caught the eye of baseball head coach Elliot Meng.

“It is great because you don’t have to keep a tab on him in the classroom,” Meng said. “It makes it easier on us and he really sets a good example for the other kids.”

While he feels the pressure in the classroom, it also translates to the diamond, where he plays two of the most important positions in the game — pitcher and second base.

“It is pretty rough,” said Switzer of having all the attention on him while on the mound. “You have to focus on the mitt, but you also have to do everything the coaches have taught you in practice. You just can’t get overwhelmed with everything.”

And when he isn’t pitching, Switzer has to know the game like the back of his hand at second base.

“You always have to know where you are going to throw the ball if you get it,” he said. “Then you have to stay in front of it and block it up.”

Meng said Switzer is most comfortable at that position.

“We really like him at second base,” Meng said. “He’s been playing their most of his time.”

Baseball season becomes especially tough on Switzer, who said it is challenging trying to juggle both school and the sport.

“You have to go to school, then go to baseball, and then when you get home from baseball you have to do homework and get your stuff ready for the next day,” he said. “So it can get pretty overwhelming.”

Trinity has had a rough start to the year, but Switzer is confident his team will be able to turn things around, starting with practice.

“That really starts the brotherhood for the season,” he said. “You have to know each other and what each person can do. You have to know how to push each other the right way.”

Switzer, who is a part of the core of the team, said he believes in a few years, Trinity will be a force to be reckoned with.

“We are going to be really good in a couple of years,” he said. “We just have to stick together.”

Meng echoed the excitement.

“The sky is the limit as long as they work hard,” he said. “We are just a new team that hasn’t played together yet.”