Kenedy Musante

Stetson University baseball commit, sophomore Tj Melani, stands tall before heading off to practice.

Kenedy Musante, Reporter

As a high school athlete, receiving offers from colleges is a great way to kick-start one’s future. For sophomore T.J. Melanithat step has just been crossed off his list. Stetson University recently offered him a spot on their championship winning baseball team. Melani has committed to the university and plans on attending in 2021.

Stetson University is a private university located in DeLand, Florida, known for its high involvement in sports and extracurriculars. High school athletes usually start receiving offers during their junior or senior year, but an exception was made for Melani due to his skill level and diligence.

“It is very exciting. I’m honored to have this opportunity to play at my dream college and I’m looking forward to seeing how this furthers my baseball career,” said Melani.   

A pitcher and shortstop, Melani started playing baseball when he was four years old.  From the moment he picked up a baseball, he knew he wanted to pursue the sport for the rest of his life. Baseball has impacted his life in more ways than one. Melani has learned to overcome adversity and become a stronger player, both mentally and physically. Baseball has also helped him learn how to deal with failure during games and in real life.  

Baseball is a year-round sport at Seminole High School: pre-season games start in the fall, practice continues during the winter season, district games begin in the spring, and training continues throughout the summer. The SHS varsity baseball team works hard and practices frequently throughout the week. Every day after school, the team also goes to the SHS pool for additional exercise.

 “Practice after school is something the entire team looks forward to, especially T.J.,” said senior Caden Reeves. “He is always motivated to practice and perfect his skill level.”

Coach Brown and Coach Eckstein, the SHS baseball coaches, are proud of all the effort that Melani has put forth in order to be where he is today. The hard work and encouragement he brings to the team are qualities they prize in their players. Melani’s enthusiastic spirit has not been lost on his teammates.

“T.J. mixes in well with all of the guys and has shown to be a good team player. He enjoys playing the game and always has a smile on his face, and he has proven to be a positive part of of our team,” said junior Charlie McDaniel, a varsity pitcher.  

Melani knows how stressful it can be to play a sport and find time for homework, but like many student-athletes, he finds time. During the fall season, the boys team has to travel all over Florida for tournaments and games. At their hotels the players come together and host study halls to get their homework or projects out of the way.

His coaches and teammates have long admired Melani’s leadership; the University of Stetson has clearly taken notice of this as well. The SHS varsity baseball players work hard to be the best athletes they possibly can. Melani shows great character and works hard to make his dream into a reality.