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Roslyn creating a winning culture with smarts on and off baseball field

Roslyn baseball players, left to right, Daniel Rosman,

Roslyn baseball players, left to right, Daniel Rosman, salutatorian, Hayden Leiderman, high honors, and Jordan Zucker, valedictorian, on Thursday, May 20, 2021. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Jordan Zucker and Daniel Rosman have put up some incredible numbers this year at Roslyn.

Zucker, a senior and one of three captains for the Bulldogs, is batting .467 with 10 RBIs in nine games; as a pitcher he’s posted a 2-1 record with 18 strikeouts in 15 innings.

Rosman, a senior who also is a captain, has a .467 on-base percentage with 11 runs scored; he, too, pitches and has thrown 10 innings to a 2.62 ERA with 16 strikeouts.

Still each has one number that has stood out as Roslyn has again become relevant with a 7-2 start in Nassau Conference III. Zucker’s is 105.33. Rosman’s is 105.01.

No, those are not exit velos. Nor are they radar gun readings. They are the weighted GPAs that have earned them valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, in Roslyn’s Class of 2021.

Roslyn High School valedictorian Jordan Zucker.
Roslyn High School salutatorian Daniel Rosman.

Roslyn High School valedictorian Jordan Zucker and salutatorian Daniel Rosman.

"They say baseball is a thinking man’s game," Roslyn coach Dan Freeman said. "Those guys also have really high baseball IQs, dissect everything in the game and, I believe, are a part of the reason this team plays a smart brand of baseball."

The Bulldogs, however, are not just winning games with their minds. They are talented, motivated and have Zucker and Rosman – as well as senior pitcher/shortstop Hayden Leiderman (weighted GPA 103.9) – creating a winning culture in the program.

"I’ve been in the program a long time ," said Zucker, who was the starting leftfielder as an eighth- grader. "Leadership is important to keep the team fully-invested and to provide an example by going hard on every play in practice."

Rosman said "on this team no one takes any reps off." And Leiderman, a tri-captain with Zucker and Rosman, added "we know that people think of Roslyn as it has historically been so we have adopted a gritty, underdog attitude to feed our intensity."

There is a good chance it will take root because of their example. The Bulldogs rely heavily on three strong underclassmen – sophomore outfielder Matthew Fleigler, freshman third baseman Tyler Giordano and freshman outfielder Lucas Weisser – who are getting a first-hand look at how the new culture is translating to success.

"There’s so much to love about what is going on with our team right now," Rosman said. "Everyone is involved and excited because we believe this is going to be a special season."

The three captains felt that last year might have been Roslyn’s best in a long time before it was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. And they believe much of their present-day success spun out of the lost 2020 season.

"We got to see how fragile a season can be," said Leiderman, who’s emerged as the team’s ace and is 3-0, hasn’t allowed an earned run in 21 innings and is batting .519. "We are like we are because we don’t want to let anything get in the way of this team reaching its potential."

"No one wants to lose our second chance at being something special," Rosman added.

In the fall, Zucker will attend Cornell and Rosman is going to Haverford. Both plan to try out for the baseball teams at their schools. Leiderman will be off to the University of Chicago and already is slotted for a varsity spot.

As for the way classroom performance translates to the diamond, Rosman and Zucker have very different takes. Rosman said that "doing well in class is about being prepared for it and so preparation plays a big role in my game."

Zucker said that, for him, "it goes in the other direction."

"I feel like it was my athletics that really translated to the classroom," he said. "I've been an athlete my whole life and I love competition and I like winning. So when I went to the classroom. I was more of the type of kid who felt he needed to get the best grade on the test or always do homework so no one finishes ahead."

And speaking of competitiveness, don’t think it hasn’t been there in the many advanced placement classes Zucker and Rosman shared. "I still don’t understand how he finished ahead of me," Rosman said with a laugh. "I thought I was doing better in most of the classes we both took, but he must have beaten me on his grade in English."

Freeman said that when he and his staff first saw these seniors playing in middle school a few years back "we knew they’d be capable of taking us somewhere."

Roslyn last played in a county championship game in 1993 and, though there is a lot of season left, Freeman sees the potential for the program’s ascent. The Bulldogs have performed well against some of the conference’s traditional powers – like Division, Carey and Manhasset – and has the confidence to come to every game expecting to win.

"They’re putting us on the map," Freeman said.

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