By Mari Erin Roth
Former head coaches for the Greenville High School baseball team, Joe Tantardino and Fritz Barr, are assisting with the Volcano baseball team. Both coaches have sons, Joey Tantardino and Conner Barr, playing for Chester this year due to the closing of the Greenville High School as a result of the Dixie Fire.
Volcano Head Coach Mike Klimek invited Joe and Fritz to help out with practice drills including infield and outfield fielding, situational strategy and execution, overall strategy play awareness, with throwing, and batting practice. “Having Joe and Fritz on the practice field has intensified the practice sessions and upped the overall practice execution by the players,” said CHS assistant baseball coach George Wellman.
The Chester/Greenville connection has been evident throughout the school year as three former Greenville High baseball players — Conner Barr, Wade Neer, and Joey Tantardino — have attended Chester High School the entire year. Wade Neer and Joey Tantardino played on the Chester Section Championship basketball team this last winter, and now those two plus Conner Barr are contributing to the baseball team. All three are starters for the Vols.
Assistance from Joe and Fritz frees coach Klimek up to spend more time on individual skills development. Klimek is able to focus on pitching and catching and observe fielding and hitting drills, which is enhancing the players’ development and overall improved team play.
“So admire Joe and Fritz taking time out of their busy work schedules to help out,” said assistant coach Wellman. “I’m sure both men have a few aches and pains given they have hit a ton of infield and outfield balls, and Joe has thrown batting practice all this week.”
The Chester/Greenville connection is alive and well. Coach Klimek promotes the “We Are Family” mantra, and the blended Volcanos/Indians team is improving. The addition of Joe and Fritz for training and support has tightened that connection even more.