By Dolores Aguilus
After ending last season with an unfortunate overall record of 2-13, the Varsity Baseball team planned to have a complete turnaround this season and currently have an overall record of 16-6. With a new team and coaching staff, changes have been made and the goal of taking home both a league championship and a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championship may still be accomplished. Alongside the season, the team were prepared to face any challenges they encounter to make that goal a reality.
During the preseason, the new Head Coach Mr. Jeff Prickett had the opportunity to work with the baseball team and adapt to not only a new environment, but a new position. With fourteen years of coaching experience, Prickett wanted to strengthen the team’s abilities on and off the field which he believes will bring them success. “As the new head coach, I believe I’ve brought a new fresh start and a new perspective to the program,” he stated. Agreeingly, Senior Capitan Hayden Johns stated that the new head coach has brought positivity and a new spect bringing the team all together. From the start, Johns believed Prickett has “changed the attitude of the teammates either at practice or in games and the comradery that’s come together as a team.” Throughout the season, the coaches pushed the team to their limits and expected maximum effort. For the majority of the week, the team practices on the fields three to four hours a week. Their practice consists of mainly working on infield drills, specific plays, and improving their swings. To be more in depth, Prickett stated, “A practice day consists of warming up, working on fundamental skills, situational; offense/defense, and batting practice. We have to mix in pitcher bullpen and conditioning as well.” To show that they have been practicing, the competed in a preseason tournament. The Chino tournament consisted of six different teams, and the Pumas had defeated and after the course of two weeks, the team placed first in their first game(s).
Ensuring that the team does not have a repeat of last years challenges, Johns stated, “As a captain, my main job is to communicate to the coach how the team feels in certain situations and lead the team.” As the season is in session, Prickett concluded that their biggest obstacle is themselves, and as long as they stay focus on the main goal and continue to work hard and trust each other that will become their strength to success. Unfortunately, during the season, two starting pitchers were out for weeks due to injuries, but the team worked throughout by picking up where they left off and continued to play the game. According to Senior O’Neill McIntosh this season has taught him “how to be a good teammate. I’ve fulfilled various roles within each game and be apart of something greater, which was realizing that each of my teammates wants to win as bad as I do, and in order to do so, each player has to contribute when they’re called upon.” One of the team’s great attributes is, the depth of the team. “We have nineteen guys on our roster that have the ability to contribute and many of them at multiple positions. We are strong on the mound and have great senior leadership,” stated Prickett. With their determination strong and their spirits high, the team is bound to make a change on and off the field.
Starting the season with positive energy and a lot of hard work, they have dedicated themselves to not only the team, but the sport that has brought them together. With the season coming to an end the team want to play their very best against their rivals, Vista Murrieta and Great Oak High School. Prickett encouraged the team to fight through all the challenges they faced and believes that “there's no reason to ever go into a season without the mindset to win it all. We will focus on achieving that through team unity and doing things right on and off the field.