Jets, Mets, and Knicks! When it comes to favorite professional sports teams it’s New York all the way for Snow Canyon’s own Nick Dolce. While the Warrior does have a soft spot for his old home of New York, Dolce bleeds green, blue, and gold no matter the season or sport. This young man puts in the work.
As a sophomore, Nick had the opportunity to live out a childhood fantasy that many kids who love the game have played out on sandlots and backyards. You know the one: the big game with everything stacked against you, the game on the line, in the middle of a championship run, two outs and you at the plate. No pressure right? A storybook ending that night was precisely what Nick wanted and exactly what he earned.
“It was a big region game against Cedar, and we were down 7-4 going into the final inning,” Nick remembers. As teams often do, the Warriors put together a rally Nick will never forget. “We had the bases loaded with two outs, and the score at 7-5 for Cedar when I came up to bat. I had hit a double off the wall on the right side earlier, and noticed that their left fielder had shifted all the way over. I knew right away I wanted to go the other way with it.” Nick smiles thinking back to that moment, almost if hearing the bat crack the ball once again. “I connected, threw my bat, and started running. I knew it was a high ball but I just put my head down and kept going. Then all of a sudden I heard everyone start screaming.” The ball would eventually drop and hit the floor, as players rounded bases into home pushing to get the win. “We scored runs and were able to win the game and stay in the playoff race. I’m never forgetting that one.”
The excitement is understandably high for a team who makes a successful comeback. As a pitcher, closing out a hard fought game on the mound is just as exciting. “I was throwing hard that game. I wish I always had that kind of velocity when I start.” This time, Snow Canyon faced Desert Hills in the State Tournament, which went eleven innings. “We were at Dixie State and it was packed. We kept going back and forth the whole game. It was really fun that game too because I was just feeling it. Moving on to the next round was such a relief. I was throwing hard, a lot harder than I usually do, that’s for sure.”
Region 9 is one of those special regions that few come by and fewer get to play for. It’s a region where you could actually lose, but still out play leaders of many others in the state. “This region is a tough region, in any sport,” says Stephen, Nick’s father. “We really haven’t had much trouble with teams up north. You look at last year’s playoffs in baseball, it came down to Desert Hills, Snow Canyon, Cedar, and Pine View. The talent here is incredible. We had to battle to get in.”
Similar to sports, nerves play a factor in life. What you do when the pressure is on is telling, and eyes watching compounds everything. “This region draws crowds too, it really does.” states Stephen. When the nerves come through they will either make or break you. It’s all in how you handle them because that always determines the type of athlete you are; and more than anything, the type of person you’ll become.
Confidence also plays a factor and knowing what you want makes the difference. “We want to win state,” shares Nick. “It’s the ultimate goal. We know we just have to take it one game at a time and have each others’ backs.”
Preparing for the next level, in anything does not come easy. It takes hard work and dedication. Nick knows that it would be foolish to try to do things on his own so he looks beyond himself for the necessary direction and guidance to continue progressing.
Mentors and coaches along the way help build the foundation and set the stage. “Coach Mills has really helped us understand the importance of getting stronger. Seacrist has really helped me make those minor adjustments that make all the difference.”
“It was a big region game against Cedar, and we were down 7-4 going into the final inning… I’m never forgetting that one.”
Dolce understands that if he wants to succeed in the future, he must learn from those he is with now, in the moment. “I know that, because of my coaches, I will be working to get better every singe day till the season is over. What I’ve learned from them while I’ve been here will help me as I move on, not just in baseball.”
There is one aspect of Nick’s game that onlookers may find unique. “He’s an interesting typle of player because he throws righty and bats lefty,” says dad.
“Things have never come easy for him.” Jen, Nick’s mother shares. “He has had to work very hard to become the athlete he is today. He is so fun to watch in a game, but when I watch him being a great teammate and leader, that is when I am most proud. His knowledge, passion, and love for the game shows every time he takes the field.”
The final year for the New Yorker turned Utahan is coming to a close. Reflecting on his time with his teammates, Nick says, “We’ve played together for a long time. We are such a close group and I know that when it’s all over I’m going to miss playing with these guys as much as the coaching staff. Coach Seacrist’s passion and love for the game is something I really enjoy. During my sophomore year he put his faith in me, and showed that he had confidence in me. That meant a lot to me.”
Attend a game or two and you may catch a glimpse of a few things written on the tape around Nick wrists. “Before every game I tape my wrist and I write down the names of people or things that are important to me. People I want to focus on or play for, or goals I have.” One such goal for Nick has already been met, and he is looking forward to experiencing it to a greater degree in the near future. Nick has just recently signed a letter of intent to play for the Golden Eagles at CSI, College of Southern Idaho, in Twin Falls ID. Congratulations Nick! • HSSI