Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

In the baseball dugout with Harwood Union HS senior Xavier Brookens, who 'just fell in love with the sport'

 A young man wearing a blue T-shirt smiles for the camera in a school hallway.
Kevin Trevellyan
Vermont Public
Xavier Brookens is an 18-year-old from Waterbury.

Around Vermont, high school seniors are about to graduate. For many of them, this was the first year that the pandemic didn't profoundly affect their school days.

We wanted to get a sense of what it was like to go back to "normal," and to understand what really matters to teenagers about to head out into the world. So we asked some students at Harwood Union High School to document what they found significant about their senior years, and worked with them to produce a series we're airing all week.

Third installment: For Harwood Union HS senior Arianna Clark, theater is a chance to learn about 'parts of me that I didn't realize were there'

Today, Xavier Brookens, an 18-year-old from Waterbury, takes us into the dugout during a varsity baseball game.

We recommend listening to this story if you can! We've also provided a transcript below.

[Baseball players rally for a teammate during an at-bat]

Xavier Brookens: We were away — where were we? We were in Lyndon. I was designated hitting, yes. And it's just all the guys in the dugout. I mean everyone's yellin’, trying to hype each other up for at-bats, and fire up our pitcher, get him throwing strikes, throwing good.

[Player yells, “Whoa, nice. Good curve Nic!’]

"A big part of baseball is just your patience. It's one of those sports where you fail a lot more than you succeed, especially when you're hitting."
Xavier Brookens

People kind of just throw their stuff all over the place. So you gotta push stuff aside to sit down on the bench. Everyone's spittin’ seeds. And just talking about stuff. Mostly baseball, sometimes gets a little off track.

I play baseball, I guess originally because my dad got me into it when I was a little kid, because we used to play toss, play catch. And I've grown up watching Major League Baseball with him. And I just fell in love with the sport.

[Player yells, “Nice start, 13! Good work kid."]

It's like the most relaxing sport ever. You're kinda like — there's so much downtime in it. And then you have moments that are like super important. And you have to make that one play in that one moment.

[Players cheer for a teammate during an at-bat]

A big part of baseball is just your patience. It's one of those sports where you fail a lot more than you succeed, especially when you're hitting. So you have to realize like, "OK, I might strike out two times in a row. But I can't get down on myself about that. I gotta focus on the next thing. I gotta go out there and get on base my third at-bat of the game."

[Players hype up a teammate]

My favorite memory from the season so far — I didn't start in the game, and then I got subbed in because of an injury. And my first at-bat, I hit a ball up the middle, and then stole second, and then came around to score right after. So that was a cool moment, just because I was like — I didn't think I was going to play in the game at all. And I ended up having a pretty big effect right away. And that felt really nice. It was kind of like I had to prove some people wrong.

[Player yells, "Nice Nic! Beautiful!"]

"I mean, I had a lot of good times playing sports in high school. It's been a big motivating factor for me just in my life in general."
Xavier Brookens

What it means to me to be a high school baseball player — you have that ability to represent your school. And I feel like that's always super fun, especially when you see crowds of kids from the school show up to your game. And people are talking about it in school before games, and you have your whole community cheering you on. And it's not just your parents.

[Player yells, “Jackson, get there, Jackson, get there, get it in! Get it in!”]

I'm planning to go to [the University of Vermont] next year. I'm planning to major in English.

I'm definitely going to continue to play baseball after high school. I don't know what that's going to look like yet. One of my coaches on my high school team played club baseball at UVM, and he had a very good time doing it. So I might try to do that.

More from Vermont Public: It's been two years since the MLB dropped the Lake Monsters, but they're doing real well in the Futures League

[Player yells, “Throw a strike!” Another says, “That’s definitely not helpful, Lou.”]

It's just kind of crazy that it's coming to an end now, because I felt like not that long ago, I was a freshman in high school, or I was playing my sophomore year of baseball. That felt like, not three years ago.

I mean, I had a lot of good times playing sports in high school. It's been a big motivating factor for me just in my life in general. Like maybe I'm not having the best day, but I know that after school I'm gonna get to go hang out with the guys — whether it be at practice or in a game — and just do something that's fun, like every day. And that's always just something to look forward to — it just makes my days a lot better.

[Team cheers, “H-U, 1-2!”]

This story was produced by Kevin Trevellyan and Anna Van Dine. And special thanks to Kate Youngdahl-Stauss, a teacher at Harwood Union High School who facilitated this project.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Anna worked for Vermont Public from 2019 through 2023 as a reporter and co-host of the daily news podcast, The Frequency.
Latest Stories