Excellent Virginia baseball participant Kyle Teel developed tenacity in highschool soccer | Sports activities
Prior to joining the Virginia baseball program, Kyle Teel was a multisport star at Mahwah High School in New Jersey. He was the starting quarterback for the soccer team.
Virginia’s Kyle Teel celebrates his Grand Slam against the Dallas Baptist on Monday in Columbia, SC
Chris Diaz didn’t know if his quarterback would play in the first round of the 2019 New Jersey state playoffs. Kyle Teel, his talented caller, was battling the flu.
Before the game, things didn’t look promising.
“We’re a little nervous and he shows up for the game,” said Diaz, the head coach of Mahwah High School. “He doesn’t look good at all.”
Teel chose to get dressed and play even though he felt sick. It was his senior season and he wanted to be there for his team.
In the first game of the game, he ran 54 yards for a touchdown. In the team’s next offensive game, Teel sprinted 86 yards for another rousing touchdown.
“I just remember feeling awful going back to the sidelines,” said Teel. “It was 20 degrees outside with a 10 mph wind and I just felt awful, but I mean we did won the game in the end and it was worth it. “
Teel, now a budding star for Virginia Baseball, led his team to a 37-14 win over Westwood High School in the fall of 2019. Despite the bad weather, Teel rushed 248 yards with 26 carries and scored five touchdowns on the ground.
The performance came as no surprise to Diaz. Even Teel’s Grand Slam start on Monday afternoon was not what promoted UVa to the College World Series for the first time since 2015.
“The bigger the game, the better he played,” said Diaz. “He was clutching high school, now he’s clutch.”
At UVa, Teel was excellent. He is currently the only UVa player to beat over .300 (he beats .320) and he is tied with Zack Gelof for the team lead with nine home runs despite 10 fewer starts. Teels 40 RBI is second on the team, and his .518 slugging percentage tops the wahoos.
He also has a fielding percentage of 1,000 as he has a split time between the outfield and the catcher when not serving as the designated hitter.
Teel made a big splash in the team’s regional and superregional victories. He recorded an outfield assist in a 4-3 win over Old Dominion and kept the deficit at 3-2 in the eighth inning by knocking out a runner at home. In the super regional victory on Monday, his Grand Slam helped extend UVa’s season with two outs at the end of the seventh.
“Sometimes when you’re under pressure, when you’re scared, you crumble,” said head coach Brian O’Connor. “He has no fear.”
Before Teel, a freshman, came to Virginia and became a key element of the team lineup, he was a high school baseball star with an MLB interest.
In the fall, when baseball wasn’t taking that long, Teel played football for fun.
It wasn’t something he did in the summer or really outside of team training, but he loved competition and contact. It featured a 10-game season much shorter than baseball, which placed a greater emphasis on winning every week.
Teel liked the pressure.
“For me there is nothing better than waking up sore and really tired on Saturday morning after a big game, after a win,” said Teel.
Football wasn’t something Teel played when he was a child. He took a break from exercising after breaking his collarbone as a third grader.
In eighth grade, a collision during a summer league baseball game piqued his interest in getting back to the grate.
“It’s fun meeting guys,” said Teel.
As Mahwah’s quarterback, the teel did. The team used a run-heavy scheme that offered plenty of quarterback power runs and opportunities for Teel to come downhill.
Teel has a sports background; his father Garett played baseball professionally. There is also a soccer connection. Teel’s second cousin, Mike, was drafted into the NFL and was an outstanding quarterback for Rutgers from 2004 to 2008. He helped lead the Scarlet Knights to record profits from 2005 to 2008, each of his four years following a red shirt season.
Rutgers went 11-2 in 2006, upset No. 3 Louisville and won a bowl game. Teel threw over 2,000 yards that fall.
Mike watched Kyle grow up and enjoyed the chance to star someone else in the college-level family.
“It was cool to be a fan,” said Mike Teel, “I was him a while ago, probably 10-15 years ago, so I didn’t experience it from a family perspective because I was the one who was playing. Now I can be outside and look inside and I’ll be the family and the fan, which is really cool because I’ve never had that in my life. “
For the Teel family, this means an active group chat of around 35-40 people on the UVa baseball game days. Mike is currently working on finding a flight from New Jersey to Omaha in the hopes of seeing Kyle’s College World Series games in person.
While football never became more than a competitive fall hobby for Kyle, his baseball talents grew much to the delight of UVa.
At a Teel family reunion a few weeks ago, they spent some time looking through old photos, including one where Kyle is about 12 years old.
While Kyle’s fun-loving attitude hasn’t faded in the years since, the former high school quarterback is anything but a kid on the playing field.
“He’s turned into a man now,” Mike said.
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