Senior Spotlight: Joel Rinehart
Feb. 13, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - NavySports.com's Senior Spotlight focuses on team captain Joel Rinehart. Rinehart talks about the impact of the senior class on team as well as his tendency to sprint from the bullpen to the pitcher's mound. The native of Kingwood, Texas, enters the season with 55 appearances, which is tied for fourth most in Navy history.
What does being named captain of the team mean to you?
"Obviously, it's a big honor to be selected captain. As far as this year, we've been fortunate to have a big group of seniors and we all have the same mindset heading into this season. We didn't accomplish what we wanted to do last season and we're coming back this year with a refocused energy. Everyone is on the same page and we have so many leaders on the team that my job has really been minimized. All the seniors are jumping in and taking charge of whatever needs to be done."
With such a large senior class, talk about how you can help the freshmen along even more.
"It has been great because there has always been at least one senior in all the small groups that we have been working in since fall ball. It helps show the work ethic we have, what this program is about and how we want to go about it. Since all of us are on the same page, we all have the same mindset and that has been really good to see."
What are you looking forward to most this season?
"Right now, it's just getting the season started. We've been working hard in the offseason and the guys have been coming together. We're really anxious to get out there and play some outside competition."
Does it feel like it's your last season?
"Not really. It hit me when we started thinking about the bus rides, now we - as seniors - are the ones in the back of the bus. It's a weird feeling, but it's going to be a fun last season with all of the guys."
Is there a guy on the team that you don't like to face in practice?
"The last few years it has been Alex Azor. He has a really well-defined strike zone and he wasn't going to chase anything outside. Whenever you got an advantage, he would find a way to make you throw more pitches and extend the at-bats longer than I would have enjoyed. Now, Kash Manzelli has been tough to face. Another player is Robert Currie. He has been pesky, too."
Do you have any superstitions or routines you like to follow?
"I always wear the same shirt under my jersey, it's a gold team shirt from a couple years ago. The most noticeable routine I have is the sprinting on and off the field. Other than that, I'm not superstitious. I don't touch the lines, but that's probably every baseball player."
When did you start sprinting from the bullpen to the mound?
"That's a great question. One of my coaches always told me to take the field with intensity because you want to set the tone for what you're getting ready to do. I would always run pretty hard onto the field, I don't know when I started full-on sprinting. I think it was when I became more of a closer and I had to have that weird closer quark. So, I think was around sophomore year here. I just kind of went with it."
Talk about your service selection.
"I'm going to be a nuclear Surface Warfare Officer. I have to do a conventional tour on a surface warship. I'll be down in Norfolk, Va., for two years after graduation working to obtain my qualifications. After that, I'll head to Charleston, S.C., for nuclear school."