Wissahickon’s Falso proves to be a loud leader

LOWER GWYNEDD — The first thing that stands out when watching the Wissahickon baseball team is how loud they are. Every pitch — whether they are in the field or batting — there is constant chatter coming from the fielders and the dugout.

The loudest of them all is shortstop Nick Falso. The ever-vocal senior, who has been playing varsity for the Trojans for three years, takes his leadership role seriously.

“Being a leader and leading these guys is something I love to do,’ he said. “I try to be a leader on and off the field for these younger guys coming up. We try to help some of these younger guys see what a leader is and be that. I want to see this program succeed when I leave. It’s good to leave your mark in a positive way.’

“I don’t have captains,’ Wissahickon coach Shannon Gunby said. “My bottom line is guys just need to be leaders and our seniors I depend upon. (Falso has) exemplified what I expect from our guys who have been in the program. He’s been in the program three years and he knows what we expect, what we want to happen, what we need to have happen. I don’t designate captains, I just need guys to step up and do what needs to be done and he has totally exemplified that.’

Falso leads the team in hitting with a .433 average and is second on the team in runs scored (18) and RBIs (16). He thinks that offensively is where he has improved the most during his time with Wissahickon.

“I’ve always felt like I’ve fielded pretty well and my bat last year wasn’t where I thought it should be,’ he said. “Sophomore year I hit pretty well. Last year I fell off a little bit and I put a lot of hard work in in the offseason.’

The hard work certainly paid off last week when the right-handed batter had perhaps the biggest hit of his career against Upper Dublin. Both teams entered the game 11-1 in Suburban One League American Conference play and were tied in extra innings. Falso roped a single to right centerfield to give his team the walk off win and season sweep over the Flying Cardinals on Senior Day at Wissahickon.

Falso has played baseball his entire life. He also played football but gave it up when he was a freshman.

“Baseball has been my passion my whole life,’ Falso, who went to Chesnut Hill Academy as a freshman before transferring to Wissahickon, said about the easy decision to give up football. “That’s all I ever wanted to do.’

He played AAU baseball for the Philly Bandits two years ago and the Maple Zone Muckdogs last year.

The Blue Bell native — originally from Lower Gwynedd — models his game after Boston’s Dustin Pedroia for being a little guy that plays with big heart. He followed his favorite player from Arizona State, through the minor leagues and all the way to the Red Sox.

At the end of June, Falso will head to Ohio for his freshman year at Ohio University to workout with teammates. The Division 1 Bobcats were the first to recruit Falso after seeing him play in a tournament with his AAU team in Indiana.

“I really love the coaching staff,’ Falso, who was also recruited by Monmouth University and Marist College, said as to why he chose Ohio. “Great coaches, great guys. It’s a real team-oriented program and I feel like when I visited and I met everyone, everyone was like brothers and it was like a family. That’s the type of atmosphere that I love.’

Falso, who likes to eat pasta before every game, expects to play second base for the Bobcats. He played second when he was younger and moved to shortstop when his range and arm strength improved.

Falso is not the first successful baseball player in his family. His uncle, Keith Conway, played at Archbishop Carroll and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. The left-handed pitcher was in the Cardinals minor league system from 1993 to 1997.

When he’s not playing baseball, Falso likes to spend his time outdoors. He enjoys hunting white-tailed deer, fishing for bass and hanging out on the beach.

Before going off to Ohio, Falso has a playoff run to worry about. Wissahickon was eliminated in the first round of Disticts when Falso was a sophomore and the team had a disappointing year in 2014.

The Trojans, who finished 12-2 and shared the SOL American crown with Upper Dublin this year, earned a first round bye in the District One AAAA playoffs and will face the winner of Council Rock North and Avon Grove at Wissahickon on Wednesday May 20.

“This year we finally put it all together,’ Falso said. “Everyone found their swing and hit their stride at the right time. I feel like we’re making the most of it now.’

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