Being known as big and intimidating may not amount to the best reputation, but when you’re a high school baseball player getting Division One offers to play at colleges like Penn State and Wagner, all that really matters is baseball.
Senior Sid Kumar started playing baseball when he was three years old, and hasn’t stopped since. According to Kumar’s teammates, his silence on the field shows he’s paying attention. “He is usually more on the quiet side, but you know that he is always focused and wants to win,” senior Brandon Kocher said.
Of course, winning is always nice, but it’s also Kumar’s skill that makes him stand out. Much of last year, he led New Jersey with a whopping seven home runs. “Sid has the nicest swing to ever come through this program in the nine years I have been here,” Coach Michael Santoro said. But this success doesn’t come easily. Kumar trains and practices to get the positive results he wants. “His success comes from pure hard work. When he’s in the cage, he has a plan,” Santoro said.
Even during the off-season, you can find Kumar working out and preparing himself for the following year. “You don’t really find that type of dedication and commitment to sports here,” Santoro said. Dedication goes a long way, but especially if it goes hand in hand with leadership. But Kumar doesn’t simply say, “Alright, let’s run now.” He makes an effort, going out of his way to help his team. “Sid benefits the team because he is a leader and a great player. His knowledge is very useful for everyone,” senior Adam Gostomski said.
Aside from his devotion to the sport, Kumar is known as the gentle giant of High School North. Or as Santoro simply put it: “Sid is Sid.” Santoro added, “He’s bigger than most and nicer than most.” But that doesn’t affect him when he is in the game. For many overly nice athletes, it’s difficult to get aggressive or find that spark. Not for Kumar. “He had all of the physical tools to be one of the better hitters in the state, but he lacked an edge that is necessary to take an athlete to the next level. I definitely noticed a change his junior year,” Santoro said.
Considering Kumar has played baseball for more than a decade now, he knows the ins and outs of the sport, especially when it comes to helping the younger players on the team. He said if he could offer one piece of advice to freshmen starting a new sport, it would be this: “It’s going to take a while to get used to because the other kids are bigger. When you’re a freshman, you’re not going to be the biggest kid on the field, so be patient with it and work hard. It’ll come.”
Most students know Kumar as a great baseball player who happens to be really tall and unusually nice. But he hasn’t always gotten recognition. Santoro said, “By the way, I’m glad someone is doing a story on him. He deserves it.”