Many people looking from the outside in would think that the loud screaming, the players chanting and the coaches screaming as an entertainment atmosphere. But to one of the Rattlers’ top players, baseball is a place for comfort.
“I love baseball, it’s something that has been there for me my whole life,” said Virgil Priestly, the Rattlers’ first baseman. “I can just escape because it is like when you are out there on the field it’s like a safe haven it’s like an escape.”
Priestly, a senior public relations student, is the backbone of the baseball team. He is the type of player that any coach would love to have on their team.
Priestly is always eager to do more for his team and is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that his team wins.
Recruiting Priestly wasn’t a mistake, but a blessing. Having a 6′-2″, 205 lb. slugger to add to your roster is a dream for a lot of coaches.
“We recruited him as a first baseman, but what was so impressive about him was his size,” said coach Joe Durant. “They told us he could pitch and by him being left-handed … because we are always looking for left-handed pitchers, we got the chance to see him pitch and swing the bat.”
“Priestly hasn’t always traveled down the right road in life; however, because of the fact that he is a strong-willed young man, he made the right turn in life to put him in the position that he’s in today.
“I have changed my ways, I am from Miami you know what I am saying, and you get caught up in that Miami life,” Priestly said. “I had it rough as far as decision you make and hanging out with the wrong crowd and things like that.”
“It’s apart of being mature, I am working hard to succeed.”
Priestly is truly an asset to the Rattlers’ baseball team. He has produced good numbers for the Rattlers this season. So far he has 22 runs, 44 hits, 32 runs batted in and four homeruns.
Every team needs a leader, somebody who can lead by example. Priestly is that type of player. He will step up to the plate and try to carry his team on his back to lead his team to victory.
“Chico is definitely one of the leaders, he’s definitely one of the guys I think everyone looks up to,” said Dan Flaherty, team utility player.
Priestly is a very passionate person off the field. He loves to chill out when he has the opportunity to do so, but most of the time he is either playing baseball or thinking about it.
“He’s a good guy to have on your team, I want him on my team,” said David Hampton, senior outfielder. “Someone who will fight for me and i will fight for him.”
Behind many great player is a great family that supports them in everything that they do. Many players need that inspiration and family support to help push them along the way. Priestly has that strong supporting staff to help push and motivate him down the road to success in life, baseball or anything else he tries to do in life.
“I love my family so much man, it’s four boys my dad and the dogs. Sometimes my mother feels like she is out numbered,” said Priestly, with strong emotions. “I’m so blessed to have parents like I do, my father works hard so that we can have a better life than he had, i guess.”
“My mother, she’s the most beautiful person in the world, everybody that meets her falls in love with her,” Priestly said. “It makes her happy to see me out there.”
This game is something that Priestly lives for everyday. There are some players who might lose interest in the game after playing for so long. However, Priestly said he loves he the game and could not think of anything else that he would rather do.
Priestly is not only a role model in Tallahassee to the players and the fans, he has to be the role model for his little brothers.
“I’m working hard so that I can set a good example for my little brothers so that they can follow,” Priestly said.
Many college players train hard for an opportunity to play in the major leagues. Priestly had an opportunity to play at the next level, but his dreams were cut short when he was not selected in the draft.
“Man, I didn’t even know if I was going to play this year,” Priestly said. “I went out to Turner Field and
I did real well. They called me up and asked me how much money I wanted. I told them what every they thought was fair, I just want to play ball.”
“I listened to the draft on majorleague.com and I heard everybody’s name except mine and it broke my heart.”
Virgil is soon to be graduating in December so that he can go on to do bigger and better things in life.
“If I don’t make it in base ball, I have a couple of things up,” Priestly said. “I want to go to grad school, I’m a very smart person.”
“I want to play baseball and not have a 9-5, but if it comes to that, I always succeed in whatever I do and I want to go to grad school.”
Contact Leston Green at email@example.com.