April 20, 2013
Opponents of Widefield’s baseball team wonder how many there are. And for good reason. Chances are, a high percentage of ground balls will be gloved by a member of the Volcic family.
“I got asked that in our last game,” said sophomore second baseman and shortstop Isaiah Volcic (pronounced VOL-sick). “There are three this year, but there are two more on the way in a few years. That name will be here for a while.”
Isaiah, along with older brother Christian, a senior shortstop and pitcher, and cousin Jake, a junior first baseman, form a triple threat of Gladiators that are a big reason behind an 8-7 start and ranking in the upper half of the 4A Metro League standings heading into the final week of the regular season.
Widefield went just 8-12 the past two seasons and hasn’t advanced to the 4A district tournament since 2010.
“I’ve been looking forward to having all three,” said third-year coach John Sanchez, whose days to the school go back to 1992 as a volunteer coach, when Jake’s father played baseball at Widefield. “To coach his dad, then to watch his son grow up, has been cool to watch. I’ve been watching them play ball for a long time.”
On defense, the trio stands close together. Likewise, the three nearly bat in succession at the top of the Widefield lineup.
Isaiah leads off and sets the table for Jake, who bats third, and cleanup-hitter Christian follows. The combination seems to work. Isaiah is second on the team with 15 runs scored, while Jake has a team-best 15 RBIs and Christian leads Widefield with a .450 average.
“If they’re batting well, it makes me step up my game,” Jake said. “None of us wants to let each other down. It’s easier when they get on base. It makes my job easy.”
Which, in turns, makes Sanchez’s job easier, too. In his third year at the helm after 18 years as a volunteer assistant, Sanchez originally took the reins for the Gladiators summer program when his son, Mike, played for the team.
Although Mike graduated in 1995, the team still needed another coach, and the elder Sanchez continued to answer the call.
“I thought I was done when my son graduated,” Sanchez said. “I kept getting asked to return, and it kind of snowballed from there. The ride has been good.”
The ride of the three Volcics, however, won’t last for much longer at Widefield. In just a few weeks, the three walk off the infield for the final time as teammates, a legacy that spans from competitive and Little League back to their days on the sandlot.
“If you go into our dugout, we sit by batting order,” Christian said. “It’s always me, Jake and Isaiah always next to each other. We’re literally always together. Next year is going to be rough.”
Christian last week signed a national letter of intent to attend school and play baseball at Hastings (Neb.) College. While the two remaining Volcics haven’t committed to their future plans, don't rule out the possibility of a reunion.
“I could definitely see it happening, honestly," Jake said. "It would give us all more of an opportunity to play together. It's a possibility.”
But first, they hope to match or exceed the work ethic that helped land Christian a college scholarship.
"I want to do what he did, but better," Isaiah said. "I hope to push harder and harder. Watching Christian get better in his years here, it showed his commitment. I need to work the way he did to get better."