TAMPA, FLA. – From boxing matches in his childhood living room to baseball at the University of Tampa, Connor Crile was born to compete.
As one half of a pair of twins, Crile didn’t have to look much further than his brother, Ryan, for an adversary to get those juices flowing.
“We did everything together; backyard baseball, pool, bowling, even Ping Pong, everything was competitive with us,” he said before Wednesday’s practice with the Spartans. “We’d always bicker back and forth at home about sports. Everything was extremely competitive.”
Now a left-fielder for the second-best team in the Sunshine State Conference, Crile also credits his two older half-brothers, Josh and Travis, for building toughness.
When Connor and Ryan were kids, they would stage boxing matches in their living room with boxing gloves and blankets for capes on their back. They’d stand on opposite corners and have their own coach guiding them every step of the way.
Their older brothers, of course.
“(Josh and Travis) always taught me to be a better person than I am now and never give up, no matter how hard things are,” he said. “They always give me good advice.”
After hitting just .231 as a sophomore for the College of Central Florida, Connor Crile is now hitting .389 through 13 games to help UT to a 12-4 record.
Along with the surfeit of men that have played their part in Crile’s life, one woman has left a lasting impact as well.
“My mom’s always allowed me to just live the dream of just playing baseball and going to school,” he said. “I can’t thank her enough for what she’s done. I don’t know how she did it; she’s a tough woman.”
Current Spartan head coach Joe Urso is UT’s all-time winningest baseball coach, and has taken note of Crile upbringing.
“You look for talent and you look for personality, and he has that personality that you know is going to make people around him better,” he said. “You can tell he was raised right.”