Baron discusses baseball, life and bruises

‘Being a good teammate translates to being a good person.’

Neal Baron has the bruises to show what he’s been up to during the Mercer Island High School (MIHS) baseball season.

Along with throwing out runners on the basepaths and protecting the plate while tagging out opponents racing home, the senior catcher has blocked a plethora of balls throughout this spring’s campaign.

“I’ve got tons of bruises. All over — legs especially, arms, shoulder. Like everywhere,” Baron said with a laugh. The backstop said he’s got to get the job done, so the ball marks come with the territory.

The Islanders recently finished up the 3A KingCo regular season with a 5-7 mark (8-13 overall) and are headed into the first round of the league playoffs with a 1 p.m. game on May 4 against Liberty (Renton) at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.

Baron feels that MIHS — which lost six one-run games this season — has a good shot at doing well in the playoffs.

“It’s really just cleaning up the small things and trying to get our bats hot going into the playoffs and manufacturing runs the best we can, and trusting our defense and our pitching ‘cause they’ve done a really good job this year,” said Baron, who captains the team with fellow seniors Tyler Gilroy and Brandon Abulhosn (injured).

As captains, Baron said the guys aim to ease their teammates’ nerves since most players are new to the squad, make the game fun and play loose and confident in an uplifting environment.

The two-year starting player has learned some life lessons during his time with the MIHS program, including, “Being a good teammate translates to being a good person,” said Baron, who hopes to play college baseball and plans to focus his studies in the business realm.

The Reporter asked Baron a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

I don’t like bad manners. Chewing with your mouth open or burping and stuff like that. That stuff kind of gets me.

What’s your favorite restaurant on Mercer Island?

Sushi Joa.

What’s the craziest thing that you’ve ever done?

I went to Africa. I went on a safari in Kenya, which was pretty crazy. (Baron went with his family for his mom’s birthday.)

What’s a hidden talent that you have that people wouldn’t know about?

I have really good balance. I used to unicycle and stuff like that, but that was a long time ago.

What’s a skill that you’d like to learn?

Sign language.

If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?

David Ortiz from the Boston Red Sox, (he’s) been my favorite player since I was a kid. I think him or Tom Brady — I’m a New England sports fan.

If they were to make a movie about you, who would play your character?

The first person that comes in mind would be Seth Rogen. (He loves the movie “Superbad.”)