Serra senior catcher Nigel Buckley knew that baseball was the sport for him at the age of 12.
“I was a football player all the way up until 11 or 12 years old and I fell in love with baseball the first time I played it,” Buckley said. “I just stopped doing football freshman year … It never stopped being fun neither.”
Buckley helped the Serra Cavaliers baseball team earn a 17-7 overall record during the 2022 season. They became Del Ray league champions with their 10-2 league record and reached the Southern Section Division IV playoffs.
Buckley was one of the Cavaliers’ strong hitters, making six home runs, 15 RBI, 21 runs, and 40 hits last season. Along with being focused on securing wins, the team had a strong chemistry.
“We have a good bond and we spend a lot of time together,” Buckley said. “We know we got to trust each other to be able to make plays and be able to hit and do everything we need to win.”
Around the age of 10, Buckley had issues with being cocky and arrogant. His coach at the time taught him the importance of humility.
“He just told me to stay humble because times are always not going to be as good as you want them to be,” Buckley said. “You gotta keep a level head.”
Times got hard for Buckley when he struggled with his batting during his sophomore year.
“I hit three home runs but that was towards the end and I was batting .125 … I was struggling a lot,” Buckley said. “But it made me work harder in the summer.”
Strength training and general football training helped Buckley with baseball. He noted how he still does that training.
“It’s allowing me to do things like hit home runs and have arm strength,” Buckley said. “It also made me athletic too because I’m able to do more things that I wasn’t able to do if I didn’t play more sports.”
As a student athlete, Buckley takes pride in having the onus of maintaining good grades while competing at a high level.
“It means a lot because not a lot of people can do it,” he said. “There’s always some type of balance.”
Buckley enjoys learning about history because he wants to be informed about what happened before he was born. He admits that balancing athletics and academics has been a challenge for him in the past, but he has since improved.
“Not a lot of time is wasted when you’re a student athlete and you’re trying to maintain good grades and be good on the field,” he said. “Your free time is limited because you got two things to focus on.”