The Bishop Verot baseball team is the only Lee County team in any sport to make five consecutive trips to the state final four. And coach David Nelson was around for all five, the first as an assistant and the last four as the head coach.
He’ll look to make one last run this season.
Nelson told his players during practice this afternoon 2016 will be his last season, Verot athletic director John Gulley said.
“He’s made baseball at Bishop Verot not about just about baseball,” Gulley said. “It’s been about becoming men and good human beings, preparing for the next level of life. And, oh, by the way, they’ve also been successful on the field. The two go hand in hand.”
Nelson, who is pursuing a master’s degree and seeks to spend more time with his family, had big shoes to fill after taking over for Tom LoSauro after the Vikings won a state title in 2011. Under Nelson, the 2015 News-Press Baseball Coach of the Year, the club went a combined 102-23-1 and made four more trips to the state semifinals and beyond.
“How spoiled am I?” Nelson joked last season.
“For us to be able to go (to the state final four), it’s special. It’s something no one (in the county) has ever done before. It’s a testament to these kids, to how hard they work. But, also, all these fans, all these past players, all these guys who have come through and set the standard. And these guys came through.”
Verot came up just short of a state title at JetBlue Park last season when it fell to Jacksonville Trinity Christian 6-4 in a game that was played deep into the night due to weather delays.
The Vikings are 7-13 overall and 2-1 in district play this season.