Genki LeClair is definitely a name that sticks in your head when you first hear it, but that’s not the only thing leaving an impact. LeClair is playing in his first full season on the varsity baseball team, although he was called up as a freshman to pinch hit for the team in the playoffs last year.

“[Seniors] Henry Zeisler and Michael Benz have been helping me get used to things around here,” LeClair said.

Benz and Zeisler have taken LeClair under their wing, helping him get accustomed to the team. LeClair also attributes his easy transition to his time spent with varsity last year.

“It was a good experience playing up last year. I got to know a lot of the guys and just be around the team and around the atmosphere playing on varsity,” LeClair said.

Sophomore Genki LeClair and senior Michael Benz shag balls at a small workout on a Sunday afternoon.

Sophomore Genki LeClair and senior Michael Benz shag balls at a small workout on a Sunday afternoon.

However, LeClair is no rookie when it comes to thriving in the spotlight. He was reserved when spoken to, but both on and off the field, he shows glimpses of his leadership skills and confidence that could prove to be critical to future varsity teams.

As a freshman last year, “Genk,” as some of his teammates call him, had a batting average of .360 and was also tied for the most home runs on the freshman team. He also stole the team high of 14 bases.

There’s a lot of pressure on LeClair to perform, and in his first couple of games with the team, it was easy to see he got a bit wrapped up in his own expectations. He started off the 2017 season jittery, without any hits in his first three games.

“I’d say it took a bit of adjusting, but once I got used to it, it got easier,” LeClair said when asked about his transition from freshman to varsity.

Recently, though, it seems that he has finally begun to hit his stride. LeClair is batting .389 with four hits in the last couple games.

LeClair spent most of his little league days playing above his age level, although he only picked up baseball around the age of seven. When asked about his dominance throughout his baseball career, he brushed it off.

“I like playing up, honestly, just because it pushes me and makes me go harder. That’s why I like playing with older and better kids because it just makes me better,” LeClair said.

One of LeClair’s most admirable traits was his undeniable confidence in his own play.

“Yeah, I’d say I expected to make [varsity], just out of self-confidence. I mean if you don’t expect to make it, I don’t know how you would,” said LeClair.

His final thought should be very encouraging if you are a Redwood baseball fan. These are the words of a kid who’s in the passenger seat, soaking it all in as he prepares to drive. These are the words of a kid craving a dynasty. But simplest of them all, these are the words of a kid who is ready to become one hell of a ball player.

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