BB: The process of balancing school, sports and a full-time job

There is little debate that being a student-athlete is difficult. However, three graduate student baseball players, Brandon Reno, Nick Pronti and Dominick Bayo, have decided to come back for their fifth-year of eligibility while working full time and completing their masters.

“We want all of our players to succeed beyond baseball,” said head coach Kevin Gryboski. “For players to have the opportunity to get real-world experience, pursuing a master’s degree all while being a big part of our team is a win for all our guys.”

Reno and Pronti are both registered nurses working night shifts and are completing their MBA. Bayo is a teacher working towards a degree in effective teaching.

Pronti and Reno noted that their days consist of attempting to get as much

sleep as possible, school work, meals, weights, and of course – baseball.

“I spend most of my time in the hospital,” said Reno. “I mean, I only work three 12 hour shifts, but it becomes a lot. Especially on the days that we are busy, I feel like I am in the hospital more.”

Bayo’s schedule is slightly different as he is a teacher. Bayo noted that his schedule consisted of long-term subbing in the fall, as he needed to get his teaching certificate before becoming a full-time teacher. He is currently substitute teaching.

Despite the uphill battle of physical exhaustion from working as much as these three do, their game stats are second to none.

Bayo leads the team with a .429 batting average and an on-base percentage of .525. Pronti leads the team in doubles with eight and Reno already has 11 RBIs on the season.

“This is a great group of men,” said Gryboski. “The best part of a team is that

we become aware of people beyond their ability to throw a baseball. Knowing guys are coming to practice after working all night and opting to be there for ground balls carries a lot of weight for me, the coaching staff and the other guys. We don’t use the word respect lightly. I think these guys working and somehow making it all work out is a bigger bullet point on a resume than most people will ever understand. All these guys have earned respect however their season unfolds.”

The decision to come back and balance full-time work, school and baseball was a no-brainer for Pronti, Reno and Bayo as they all noted that the ‘sour taste ending’ in their last season was motivation enough to make another run at the MAC Championship.

For the full interview with Reno, Pronti and Bayo, check out gowilkesu. com or find it on “Wilkes Now TV” on Service Electric Channel 97.

The Beacon/Ariel Reed Nick Pronti gets set at short stop, waiting for the next play to occur.
Dominic Bayo sizes up his pitch, hoping to bunt a runner into scoring position.
Brandon Reno throws his arms up, questioning a call made at first base.