Regis baseball players have not been able to take the field this season, but they got one step closer to the big leagues on Saturday, April 4. Ian Happ, a rising star for the Chicago Cubs, joined the Regis Varsity and J.V. teams over Zoom to offer expert advice and friendly encouragement.
Happ, a close friend of Regis Director of Athletics Mr. Sal Annunziata and a big supporter of Regis sports, wore a Regis Golf pullover during the conversation. Chatting with the Regians for more than an hour, Happ thoroughly answered every question posed to him by the young players.
“I was pleasantly surprised that Ian was so open with us,” Timothy Schachner ’20 said. “His responses helped us understand the tremendous work and attention to detail that the Major League level requires. As a pitcher myself, his perspective as a professional hitter gave me important insight into that other side of the game.”
At some points in the conversation, the big leaguer even got out of his chair to demonstrate specific techniques for the attentive Regis students. Happ, 25, also shared a number of laughs with the group. His willingness to be so generous with his time did not surprise his longtime friend.
“I am grateful to Ian for taking the time out for a wonderful Zoom Q&A session with our Regis Baseball players and coaches,” Mr. Annunziata said. “It brings me great joy to be able to provide our student athletes with a constructive, insightful, and exciting distraction during this time of great challenge. Ian answered every question the boys had with great detail and provided them insight to new lessons and principles of the game that they will be able to take with them moving forward.”
Before the spread of COVID-19 indefinitely delayed the start of Major League Baseball, Happ was poised to open the season as the Cubs’ starting center fielder. Known for his defensive versatility and power, the former first round pick has hit 50 home runs in less than three full seasons in the big leagues.
The Regians who participated were extremely thankful that Happ took the time to meet with them during this tumultuous period. While many members of the teams support the Yankees or the Mets, at least one Chicago Cub will have a number of Regians rooting for him when baseball returns.
“It was really cool just being able to pick his brain on baseball,” Eric Fava-Pastilha '20 said. “It definitely uplifted the team during these tough times.”