Cody Crouse with his brothers, Logan Crouse (left) and Carson Crouse (right), after he led the Bulls to a 2013 Saladino Tournament win.

Cody Crouse, once a baseball standout for the Bloomingdale Bulls, has taken over a struggling East Bay program, which he hopes to turn around.

Crouse played for Bloomingdale High School from 2010-2013. He was then drafted by the New York Mets in the 19th round of the 2013 MLB draft but chose to play college baseball at Florida International University instead. He played at FIU for three years and later finished his fourth year of eligibility at Embry-Riddle University.

Last August, Crouse was officially hired as East Bay High School’s baseball head coach after being the interim manager for most of the 2019 season. Crouse’s former high school coach, Kris Wilken, says that Crouse’s competitiveness and consistency as a player will translate with him as a head coach.

“I feel like that program was in need of a guy to come in who was not only very knowledgeable, but also a guy who has higher expectations than they’ve maybe seen there in a long, long time,” said Wilken. “Cody is that guy.”

Crouse feels that his pedigree as a player will give him a lot of credibility as a coach. He relishes the opportunity to pass on what he’s learned as a player to his own players.

“I relate to Coach Crouse because he used to be in the same place as us a few years ago,” said junior catcher Carlos Campos. “He understands what it’s like to play high school baseball and what it takes to go to the next level. We may not play the same position, but we both understand the importance for our positions and how serious we have to take them on the field.”

This first season for Crouse has brought on many difficult challenges with the season being halted due to the Coronavirus. His team had just gained momentum with a two-game winning streak after starting the season 0-6.

The team is only allowed to talk on the phone. They can’t workout together or meet up, so Crouse told them to continue working out on their own in the hope that the season may continue at a later date. He says that if the season doesn’t continue, he will feel bad for his seniors who didn’t have a chance to finish out their last year on the field.

“I miss the camaraderie of being around the team,” said Crouse. “This time off has really made me miss being around the guys all the time, every day—missing practice, missing the highs and the lows and just going out there and competing.”

Crouse’s team has already taken on the personality of their manager. Senior infielder Aaron Jackson has taken Coach Crouse’s lessons to heart.

“Coach Crouse has taught me that no matter what position I am in, I will give 100 percent,” said Jackson. “He has also shown us that with hard work, we can compete anywhere. We have all worked hard this year, making changes to this team that matter, from working on the field to just becoming closer as a family. He always pushes us to be our best and to be ready for anything.”

Crouse’s ultimate goal is to make some sort of impact on a player’s life.

“I just want a kid to remember me and say, ‘Hey, look, that guy really helped me out,’” he said. “I want to look back and have kids call me in the future to share their success. That would be pretty awesome.”

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.