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Coming into the summer of 2012, there are a lot of things to look forward to, including city county baseball. That being said, the Exeter City County Cardinals are looking to have a successful year, led by players such as Nick Feeney, Danny Louviaux and John Reina.
"John is currently a junior at Daniel Boone High School," Cardinals coach Brian Hayes said of Reina, "He is a very hard working kid, a natural leader and a bulldog on the baseball field. John is a switch hitter and will be batting leadoff this season. He displays gap to gap power with above average speed and base stealing ability. He also displays above average quickness and lateral movement defensively and features a rocket arm." Hayes also noted that Reina is garnering interest from colleges such as Pittsburgh, Marist, Purdue and Binghamton University.
As far as the league year goes, Reina noted, "We have a bunch of Carpenter Cup guys that are coming into play and a lot of guys throughout the county who have graduated (high school) in the past couple of years who have varsity level experience and know what it takes to win a game."
Reina continued, "Our whole infield has been playing together for the past few years, whether it is for the Blue Rocks or Carpenter Cup play. There really isn't a reason why we can't keep the mojo we have going and fighting each game until the end of the season."
This will be Reina's first season with the Cardinals, and noted that there are a few differences between playing for Exeter and playing in legion or high school. He noted, "The game is more realistic. You don't get the cheap hits with the metal bats like you would in legion or school ball (Exeter uses wooden bats). Pitchers can also dominate in this league and control the outcome of a game."
Reina noted that the level of play is more complex in City County and said that everyone on the field is very competitive as far as all of the players want to be noticed by Division I schools, and obviously go to college and play baseball. He said, "This is a team where it's constant heart, hustle and soul. I can't say that enough."
Reina will be in the field for the Cardinals as a shortstop and pitcher. His primary position will be in the infield, and he said he may pitch a bit, but the colleges who are looking at him are mainly looking upon him as a shortstop or second baseman.
"I bring three years of starting varsity experience to the table," Reina noted, "I just made the Big 26 All-Pennsylvania team, made my third Carpenter Cup team - hopefully in a starting role - and my baseball IQ is fairly high, I believe, but it is still growing. There are always new ins and outs of the game to learn."
Reina noted that he is one of many leaders on the Cardinals. He said, "We have a bunch of different guys who bring different things to the table. We all take charge of our different areas. If I pick up something, I'll share the knowledge and if someone else picks up something, they'll let someone else know, and so on down the line." While there isn't a go to captain on the team, everyone helps out where they can.
As well as being a 2012 Berks County Carpenter Cup selection, Reina was also selected as a member of the 2012 Berks All-County team. The junior said, "I've been working my tail off for the past four years to be an All-County selection. My goal, starting in my freshman year was to start on varsity and show that I could play with the competition."
Even with two big honors bestowed upon him, Reina noted that they won't have any real effect on the way he plays for Exeter this season. He said, "I step on the field and approach each game with a clear mind - rivalry game or not - I approach each contest with the same intensity and I'm ready to play, ready to go out there and have fun. If you're not having fun playing baseball, you shouldn't be in the game."
For the Cardinals to have success this season, Reina said that the team has to work hard in practice. He commented, "We do everything in our power to make sure we're ready to go each practice, so in turn we're ready for any game situation. We're hoping to win this whole thing, and we have to be fundamentally ready to do so."