By MAVERICK FREEDLANDER
After leading the UHS football team as its quarterback, Neil Boudreau (Sr.) is ready to end his senior year with a bang as one of the starting pitchers for the Trojan baseball team.
Like he led UHS football to its first playoff appearance in a decade, Boudreau hopes to end UHS baseball’s 3-year drought of missing the CIF playoffs. He concedes, though, that it will be an uphill battle, and said, “We do not have the biggest and baddest dudes; that’s just a fact. What we do have, though, are guys who like having a good time and love to win.”
Boudreau’s athletic career has not been without adversity. A knee injury forced him to miss the second half of the 2014 football season. Despite the disappointing injury, Boudreau chose to view his adversity in a positive light. Boudreau explained, “The injury was really frustrating to me in the short term, but in the long term, I think it was good for me. My right knee actually got stronger due to the therapy. More importantly though, it taught me the importance of cherishing every day I have to play ball because it can be taken away from me at a moment’s notice. Because of this, I am more motivated than ever to overcome the adversity and the doubters.”
UHS baseball has developed an identity as a defense emphasizing and small-ball type of team. This outlook allows the players to outlast their opponents and limit mistakes. Boudreau’s role as one of the two starting pitchers in this type of rotation is crucial. Boudreau said it best when he said, “We can get away with winning a lot of games due to our solid pitching and stout defense if we can just string together a couple of runs every game.”
Boudreau believes that his final baseball season in high school could have the same type of unexpected success that football enjoyed this year. He cited similarities and said, “For both football and baseball, our leaders are guys who have been there since freshman year. Also, much like football, it is our job as seniors to lead and make the underclassmen feel welcomed and involved in our season.”
Boudreau also added, “Our mindset is to take the season one game at a time. When we do that and are relaxed in what we’re doing, we play so much better baseball.” Boudreau committed to play football at the University of San Diego (USD) before baseball had started, so his mindset toward baseball is different than it might have been otherwise.
Boudreau explained, “Being committed to play football in college definitely makes this season a bit different. It gives me a chance to let loose, enjoy myself and play for the love of the game with a great group of guys.” He is focused on the task at hand, though, saying, “I feel like I owe it to my guys in baseball to help capture that elusive league championship before I go off to college.”
Boudreau hopes to continue to play baseball at USD. “I will definitely try to continue my baseball career in college. I am mainly playing football there but baseball is a game I have had all my life, and I am by no measure ready to give it up. Being a two sport athlete at the division one level would be a dream come true. I know I can do it,” he said.
Boudreau does not see his college athletic career as the end of his athletic experience. He said, “My ultimate goal is to one day play in the NFL, and I will work as hard as I can every day to get there.”