Monday, January 17, 2022

Sports Person of the Week

Loomis Loves Everything About Baseball


David Loomis played second base for the Hornets this spring and then shifted over to shortstop with the Branford Senior Legion team in the summer. Photo courtesy of David Loomis

David Loomis played second base for the Hornets this spring and then shifted over to shortstop with the Branford Senior Legion team in the summer. (Photo courtesy of David Loomis)

David Loomis idolized legendary shortstop Derek Jeter as he grew up watching New York Yankees’ games with his grandfather Dominic. This summer, David got to step into his idol’s shoes when he served as the starting shortstop for the Branford Senior American Legion baseball team.

David, a senior at Branford High School, spent hours throwing the Wiffle ball around with his grandfather as a child. Then at night, they’d watch their beloved Yankees. Even now, whenever the Yankees win or there’s a big play, David makes sure to give his grandfather a call. That shared love of the sport inspired David to become a baseball player.

“It meant everything. We watched Yankees games together. Whenever they won a game, whenever a crazy game happened, I’d call him,” says David. “Whenever I see him, we always talk about the Yankees.”

David played in Branford Little League through 6th grade and then joined the Hamden Yard Dogs, where he stayed through middle school. As he improved his baseball skills, David was forming friendships with teammates who fostered his love of the game.

“The friendships you make, the people you meet—the most important thing playing baseball is to have fun with it,” David says. “All the teams I’ve been on, we all got really close to each other. We’ve all had really great times. It’s the most important thing in sports.”

David joined the Branford High School baseball program as a freshman and spent his first year with the freshman and JV teams. David had a rigorous schedule while doing double duty, but he wouldn’t have traded it for the world.

“High school baseball is definitely a different beast. You practice every day. Playing freshman and JV, you don’t really get a day off. I’d play a freshman game on Friday and on Saturday morning, I’d be with JV,” says David. “I’m not upset that it happened. I love baseball. If I got to play every day of the year, I’d gladly do it.”

After David saw his sophomore season get canceled due to COVID-19, he joined the Branford U-17 baseball team last summer. Once again, David was either playing or practicing every day and having a good time competing alongside guys that he’d grown up with.

When he returned to the Hornets for his junior campaign, David made the jump to the varsity level. This marked David’s biggest challenge on the diamond to date, but he gained strength through the support of teammates who refused to quit in any circumstance.

“It was another jump. Pitchers were throwing the ball harder. The game was moving faster. But I love my team. When you have a team of guys that really get along well, everything starts to click,” David says. “We may not have had the most successful season, but we never gave up. We played until the last out. The team was excellent. I loved it.”

Following the high school season, David suited up for Branford’s Senior Legion team. David enjoyed competing for Post 83 and appreciates how everyone always had each other’s backs. David spent most of the season patrolling the same shortstop position that his idol Jeter played for the pinstripes for 20 years.

“I grew up watching Derek Jeter, admiring him. I always said when I was a kid that I wanted to be Derek Jeter. I have his jersey. It’s tiny now, but it shows how long I’ve admired him,” David says. “His work ethic was really important. He didn’t quit. He wanted to be the best version of himself. That’s something I value. I always try to put 110 percent into everything.”

While he loves playing shortstop, David was actually the starting second baseman for the high school team this spring. David hopes to maintain that role throughout his senior season with the Hornets. Second base isn’t David’s natural position, but he’s willing to do anything he can to help his team win.

“I’m a team-first kind of guy. If someone goes down, I’ll play their position. If someone can’t make a game, I’ll play their position. Whatever the coach needs me to do, I’ll do it,” says David, who is also a goalie for the Branford boys’ soccer team. “I didn’t play a lot of second base before. It was a difficult transition at first, but I was able to get used to it and gave it all I had.”

David was determined to play baseball since those early days in the backyard with his grandfather. David says that his time on the ballfield has shaped him into the person he is today.

“I fell in love with the game of baseball when I was a kid. I still have that love for it. I still have the dedication,” David says. “To be a baseball player, you have to be patient. You have to work on your craft. Having the work ethic I do really helped. Baseball built me as a person, and it built me as an athlete.”

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