By Declan Chin
Last year, the Junior Varsity baseball team earned a respectable record and displayed their tremendous potential. Now that most of those starters have moved up to the varsity lineup, the young team of mainly sophomores and juniors are looking to further improve their chemistry and surpass expectations in league.
The Tigers will undergo their fourth consecutive year under new leadership, with Coach Michael Gonzales. Under his stern leadership, the team is looking to develop a serious attitude for the sport where they can correct their mistakes from last season and move forward.
“I feel like our off season training has trained us well enough to be a solid team in league,” Junior Ben Quirk said. “Our main goals are just to do better than last year and prove that we have gone through a great off season with the help from coaches and teammates.”
The team has been practicing since September, having strenuous three-hour practices each weekday and often games on the weekends.
The player to watch for the season is Senior Brandon Louie. Louie was the standout player last season, and will take on a leadership role in his final year at South Pasadena. He has committed to Claremont McKenna College to pitch for their team.
Matthew Shultz and Louie are the only other remaining seniors on the team. Shultz is the starting catcher for the team, and is notorious for his strong arm behind the bag. Louie is the team’s ace pitcher. Capable of reaching speeds of up to mid-eighties, the team is counting on him to continue his dominance of the league.
The Tigers have already faced problems before beginning the season. Senior Connor Dolan and Junior Nick Michael both received injuries. The team will have to make do without them, as they are expected to be out for the entire season.
The baseball team hopes to play to one of its major strengths this year: hitting. Some of the star hitters include Sophomores Jack Renken and Isaac Luevano, Junior Kevin Park, and Louie.
“I would say that most, if not all the guys on the team can hit well,” Sophomore Alex Fonseca said. “From top to bottom we have some high quality hitters with different abilities and skill sets.
The Tigers have put in the work in this offseason, and now have a long, twenty-four-game season ahead of them. Only time will tell if the young squad can live up to their potential.