Lakewood coach Jayce Ganchou recognized the face right away. On an adjacent field at Lake Vista Park in December, former Major League Baseball player Dante Bichette was tossing balls to his son, Dante Jr. The younger Bichette, a player in the Yankees’ minor-league system, was staying in shape during the offseason.
After striking up a conversation, Ganchou found out Bichette recently had moved to Tierra Verde after a brief stint as a Colorado Rockies coach. He also learned that Bichette had another son, Bo. He was being home schooled but expressed interest in playing high school baseball and wondered if the team needed an infielder.
“I told him I thought we could make room for him,’’ Ganchou said with a laugh. “We got the paperwork all set up and made it happen.’’
Bichette, a sophomore, plays second base for the Spartans (10-12) and is hitting .461 with five home runs and 19 RBIs. When he isn’t playing high school baseball, Bichette spends his weekends with national travel team FTB Chandler.
Bo Bichette recently talked to the Times about his first season of high school baseball.
How did you end up as the second baseman at Lakewood?
“We used to live in Orlando and my brother (Dante Jr.) was playing (minor-league baseball) in Charleston and my dad was coaching with the Rockies. Me and my mom were traveling all the time. Now that my dad is back and my brother is with the Tampa Yankees, my mom wanted a place that was close by my brother. That’s how we moved to Tierra Verde. We would come over to Lake Vista to practice and we met Coach Ganchou. I thought it would be fun to play high school ball.”
Do any of your teammates know who your dad is?
“Maybe a few, but he was a little before their time. I like it like that.”
Lakewood isn’t exactly known for baseball. Did you know anything about the team?
“Not really. But they are great to play with. High school baseball is all about having fun. I’m having a blast.”
What do you think about the quality of the teams you’ve played?
“There are a lot of good players. The pitching has been very good. Keith Weisenberg at Osceola was probably the toughest I’ve faced.”
How did you do against him?
“I was 1-for-1 with a walk.”
Do you see yourself playing here next year?
“I don’t see why not. I think we’re going to live here for a while.”