A conversation with San Juan baseball coach Nielson
This is an abridged version of a series of questions posed by San Juan Record Sports Editor Rhett Sifford to San Juan baseball Head Coach Jens Nielson after the Broncos completed their season this past weekend.
Sifford: Coach, can you just talk about the season as a whole and what your thoughts are now that it’s done?
Nielson: What a great year! It was a lot of fun and a joy to be around these players. They are gritty, hard-working, determined, fun, and just good young men. From day one we knew what type of team we had and I think the boys knew it was just a matter of executing and being consistent.
They had that look in their eyes all season and we never doubted what we would do in the playoffs. What makes these boys so successful is their determination to win, which meant they were coachable, willing to let us put pressure on them, and willing to let us be honest and coach them hard at times.
It was a team effort all around and they pushed each other in practice but were friends off the field. Our four seniors were the key to this year. They led well and were not going to accept mediocrity. I am proud to be the coach of the 2023 San Juan Broncos baseball team.
Sifford: What were some of the goals you guys accomplished this year and things that really excited you to see from the team?
Nielson: The whole tournament was an example of our goals. We wanted to be relentless at the plate which meant being disciplined, being selfless, and doing whatever you can to put the ball in play. We wanted to exemplify the military motto LDRSHIP and be a team that respected each other, our opponents, and the game.
We had goals to play the game right and lead by example. These boys were leaders and lived up the LDRSHIP motto. We had a goal of not exiting the playoffs early and doing whatever it took to get to the championship. I felt they left it all out there and did exactly what they wanted to do. We didn’t win it all but they learned some valuable lessons about themselves.
Sifford: Obviously with high school sports there’s lots of turnover so you’re going to lose some big pieces. But you have some strong players ready to step up next season. Can you talk a little bit about the future of San Juan baseball?
Nielson: Jerzy, Ian, Garrett, and Collin will definitely be missed. They had great leadership skills and were winners. But as you said we do have a great crew behind them. We have seven or eight contributors who saw significant varsity time this year and will pick up right where we left off.
We will need to refocus our pitching efforts but we are not worried going into next year. We have a solid group of guys that will fill in and continue to make San Juan a team other teams fear playing.
We are proud of these boys! We love each one of them and expected nothing less than the great performance they put in. We are left wanting more baseball. Good luck to Jerzy, Collin, Garrett, and Ian. You guys are great men and will do great things in life.