Homeschool Warriors start strong
Published 8:47 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The United Sports Academy Homeschool baseball team is off to a good start in its first season.
The team, known as the Warriors, has played six games and holds a 5-1 record.
“We’re really excited,” Warriors coach Tommy Moose said. “We’ve been blessed to be able to put together a really competitive schedule.”
Email newsletter signup
Included on the calendar are seven games against teams within the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools.
But thus far, USA Homeschool’s victories have been of the dominant variety.
Most recently, the Warriors defeated Fuqua School 15-1 on Tuesday in Hampton.
Juniors Joel Blasiole and Seth Konkel hit home runs. Konkel finished with four runs batted in, junior Nick Dehoust also had four and Blasiole had two.
Senior Shawn Moose was 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored, and he also got the win on the mound. Moose, senior pitcher Barton Metzgar and junior pitcher Richie Hall, gave up only a combined two hits the whole game.
The USA Homeschool Warriors feature several familiar names that have been associated with Suffolk Christian Academy’s baseball team in recent years, including coach Tommy Moose and his son, Shawn Moose.
The coach said that SCA’s administration had communicated throughout last year that they were interested in moving toward a sports program where all the players on their teams would be Suffolk Christian students.
It helped prompt Moose to look for other opportunities for homeschool players like his son. He said he was contacted by the athletic director who started USA Homeschool, John Vlk, about creating a baseball team for the program.
The intent of USA Homeschool is to be a competitive program in the Tidewater area that ensures homeschool athletes are able to participate in varsity sports, allowing them to play beyond high school, if they are interested.
Among the sports offered by USA Homeschool are boys’ and girls’ basketball, girls’ volleyball and baseball.
Moose put together a roster of 12 players, including three seniors, six juniors, a sophomore and two eighth-graders.
The team has been able to practice in Smithfield in an old Hearn Furniture Sales store, part of which has been converted into a large indoor training complex. The Warriors practice outdoors at a baseball field in Suffolk off Robs Drive.
Though not part of a recognized league, the Warriors are part of the group of teams making up the Division III level of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association.
USA Homeschool will have the opportunity to compete for a state title at the Virginia Homeschool State Championships, which will be held May 17-21 in Richmond.
“They’ve had this tournament for years, from what I understand,” Moose said.
He has high expectations for how the Warriors should perform this year, noting they should be competitive in every game, put up a nice record and hopefully win the state championship.
Several players will be key to this effort, including shortstop Shawn Moose, who is also one of the team’s starting pitchers.
“He’s obviously one of our stronger players,” Coach Moose said.
Another starting pitcher for the Warriors is Seth Konkel.
“He’s a 6-foot-2(-inch) junior left-handed pitcher, and he’s a real force on the mound,” Coach Moose said, adding that with Konkel and his son starting, “we’re going to have a lot of success.”
Both boys throw a fastball in the low 80s, and they both throw multiple types of pitches for strikes.
In term of batters, “I’ve got three kids that are averaging above .500 right now,” Moose said.
Those boys include Shawn Moose (.615), junior Ben Boomer (.556) and Konkel (.500). Not far behind is eighth-grader Dawson Guzick (.467).
The coach said another key player on defense is Joel Blasiole, who is an intimidating 6-foot-3-inch, 200-pound presence at catcher.
“He’s done a really good job back there,” Moose said. “Not a lot of guys try to run.”
Emphasizing the talent throughout the team, Moose said, “I’ve got 12 kids that really deserve to be on the ballfield.”
USA Homeschool visits Brunswick Academy on Thursday and Norfolk Collegiate School on Friday.