With the spring sports season just about wrapped up, we will be taking a closer look at Muhlenberg’s senior student-athletes.
We continue with baseball. Seniors Brian Beck, Nick Busillo and Mike Speroni were honored during a ceremony before the doubleheader against Washington. The next day, they helped the Mules come back to beat regionally ranked Johns Hopkins, thanks in part to Beck’s first career grand slam, in their final game.
How have you been able to become such a good defensive player? Defense has always been important to me, so I try my best to be the best defensive player that I can be through hard work and practice. In games, I try to get to every ball that I can in order to help the team, and I always try to be aware of what is going on around me. Also, though I know I will make mistakes, I try to remember what I did wrong and apply that knowledge to the next play in order to help the team win.
How have you been able to balance your time between baseball and school work to be named to the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll the last two years? Being a student-athlete means having a very rigorous and demanding schedule, especially during the season, so I try my best to manage my time as best as I can. To succeed both on and off the field takes a lot of effort and persistence, but I try my best to make sure that I am doing my best in the classroom and then try to be the best athlete that I can be on the field.
What was it like interning with the Secret Service during the Washington Semester? It was a great opportunity and experience that I was fortunate enough to achieve. I learned a lot from my time there, and I have fostered a great respect for the men and women who protect our country through that agency.
What are your future plans? I plan on pursuing a career in law enforcement.
What’s Nick Busillo like off the field? Nick is not only a good teammate, but he is a great person. He always has a positive attitude both on and off the field, and seems to be having fun no matter what it is that he is doing. Although we don’t spend a lot of time together off the field, I have enjoyed my time with him as my teammate, and I wish him the best in the future.
Where did the nickname Goose come from? It was from my first practice as a freshman. One of the seniors said I looked like someone who could cook French cuisine, and since it was during the time of Hurricane Gustav, they called me Gustav. Then it got shortened to Goose. Never in a million years did I think that the name would stick.
Do you have any hidden or unusual talents? I am a phenomenal dancer. I specialize in the classic moves. Joe Vila and Rob Shannon can confirm that.
You’re one of the biggest guys on the team, yet you have seven steals. Where’d you get your lightning-fast wheels? Well, there are so many people to thank for that. But mainly it’s basically because no one pays attention to me, so I can get a good lead, get a good jump and then take the bag. I could probably have about 10 more, but I see the sadness in John Muha’s face every time I get a steal. Since he only has a few, I want to keep it close so he doesn’t get upset.
What’s your most memorable Muhlenberg baseball memory? Hitting the walkoff home run against Swarthmore last year. That is probably the most memorable in my entire baseball career.
What are your future plans? Well, I will probably sail around the world on the boat that my dad, now being informed of it, will invest in. And then when I am done doing that, I’ll use that as my major selling point to get some cool job.
What kind of person is Mike Speroni? Where do I even start with Speroni? Speroni is one of a kind. He stuck it out with Brian and I, and he gets my utmost respect for that. He’s a real tough kid; he is up there in appearances in a season and a career. That just shows that he can come in at any time and make an impact. He stepped up as a leader this year, and when we needed, he would ask for a lot of swag sauce. No one is really sure what that means, but that is OK because it makes him happy. I wish Mike nothing but the best after school, and I will miss having him as my teammate.
Do you have any superstitions you do before you go on the mound? Laugh at the guys in the bullpen. Seriously though, there have always been some characters down there, and it’s one of the things I do to try and stay relaxed before I step onto the mound. Obviously I need to be focused, but when I’m on the mound any pre-pitch thoughts are gone, and I’m in the moment. With pitching having the tendency to turn into a mental war between you and the batter, it’s important to stay calm. If you let your emotions get to you, they can take priority over maintaining the mechanical consistency needed for success. Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical, and anyone who’s been around the game knows that’s a fact.
What’s your most memorable Muhlenberg baseball memory? I’m going to have to pat myself on the back on this one. Probably my most memorable game was when I started against Haverford sophomore year and struck out the first six or seven guys I faced, minus the walk I sprinkled in the middle of it for a little flavor. My splitter was on that day, and everything just came together. Also just as memorable was working out of the fifth inning against Johns Hopkins my freshman year, then grabbing the win against them and shaking my dad’s hand after the game. That was pretty cool.
What was it like studying abroad at La Trobe University in Australia? Expensive. The minimum wage was about $15 an hour, and their dollar was about even with ours. Everything cost about twice as much. Although that was initially tough to deal with, I learned a lot not only about budgeting, but life in general living in Melbourne for five months. I got to play ball over there and really enjoyed fixing the non-existent swing I had going into it. I made what I hope to be lifelong friends with two sweethearts from Nebraska who I spent a week in Fiji with for our Spring Break, one of the most memorable vacations I’ve ever been on. Fiji was cheap too, which was nice.
What are your future plans? I’m currently working on an internship for the summer, and will be coming back in the fall because I ain’t no nerd. So to all the underclassmen reading this, don’t cry yet, I’ll be around to bother you some more in just a few months. Love you Mom.
What kind of teammate is Brian Beck? Brian is a great teammate and someone I’m proud to call a friend. He lets his actions do the talking, is extremely motivated, and always does the right thing. Also, he is probably the best foul ball recoverer and dugout janitor I have ever met. I don’t know what’s going to happen next year without him around, but you can probably bet on the umpire complaining he never has enough balls and our dugout will look like a landfill consisting of Slim Jim and Rice Krispies wrappers and empty Gatorade bottles. I’ve really enjoyed playing with him, Goose and our coaches, and I wish them all the best of luck next year.