South Pasadena boys varsity baseball is looking to reverse a horrible season last year in which it didn’t win a single league game.
Under new head coach Jaime Garcia, this team of 17 players comprising one freshman, three sophomores, two juniors and 10 seniors are working toward that first elusive league win. So far, the Tigers are still winless in league play, losing a squeaker to Monrovia, 6-5, and getting walloped by La Cañada, 5-1.
However, Garcia said the season is young and he believes this team is going to be successful.
“Overall, we are very excited for this year and the team,” Garcia said in an email to The Review where he presented a season overview. “We have high hopes for our seniors to be leaders to all the underclassmen in the program. These seniors would like to start a new tradition this season to show and prove to the underclassmen about a hard-work ethic, great attitude and leading by example.”
Garcia also said his confidence is not wishful thinking, citing pitching as a strength this season.
“This season we believe our strength is pitching at all levels,” he said. “Leading our varsity team on the hill this season will be a hand-full of our seniors, co-captain Noah Parker, co-captain Adam Schroeder, Dylan Benton, Max Smith and Miles Grossman. Not including the underclassmen Manny Chavez, Byron Neu, Noah Beautler and freshmen Michael Ebner, who also will have a chance to go out there on the hill.”
That’s not all, Garcia said during the interview. The first-year boys varsity head coach believes the team has a solid hitter behind the plate as well, which is going to be needed since they lack a pure power hitter.
“We are very excited about our strong catching/hitting behind the plate with Sammy Luna-Long, Akash Rathi and Pablo Guerrero. But we can’t forget about our senior captain in the infield Jacob Barnes and Saul Topete.”
It’s the seniors that are going to have to carry the winning mentality, Garcia said, because they’ve suffered through the losses. Now they’re hoping to celebrate some wins.
“We have a great group of seniors out in the outfield starting with the captain in centerfield Savian Joseph, Anthony Vasquez and Lucas Tetreault,” Garcia said.
When it comes right down to it, though, Garcia knows it’s teamwork that will win the day and it’s an energized team that will win games. But it’s going to take a total team effort to turn the tide away from those losses and instill them with a winning tradition.
“Our enthusiasm and effort put forth by all players whether freshmen, junior varsity or varsity, the goal of the program is to teach and promote an aggressive style of play,” he said. “Lacking in power, the team will need to steal and take extra bases and keep the pressure on the competition. Overall we believe to have a successful season, we must play together, play for each other and play all seven innings of each game.”
If the Tigers can muster that type of effort, which Garcia is convinced they can, winning will become a habit too hard to break.
“We are hoping to take one or two games from each team in our league.” Garcia said. “We know the Rio Hondo league is tough but we believe this year’s team will start a new tradition here at South Pasadena High School. Moving forward, we hope to get support from the community at all levels and as I stated before, we are very excited for this year’s 2019 baseball season.”