Varsity baseball prepares for the 2015 season
by Henry Curi (Staff Writer) – 2/20/15
The Kennedy High School varsity baseball team is currently preparing for their upcoming season scheduled to start in the spring with the hopes of winning a league title and a shot at redemption by winning the city championship game being held at Dodger Stadium, but that isn’t their only motivation, as they are dedicating this whole season to a 12 year old boy named Riley Kim who is fighting a rare form of stage four cancer.
With a record of 24-8 last season (and a trip to the second round of the playoffs), the Cougars are looking to improve in all aspects to have a well-rounded offensive and defensive game.
Senior shortstop Carlos Castro stated, “This year we have more experience. With the returning players and our improving team chemistry and skills, we’re hoping to top last season and make it to city finals.”
Senior catcher George Hosegera briefly added to that saying, “We have a really good team. We’re packed with seniors so we’re not lacking experience. We’ve been in the playoffs before, and we know what to expect.”
Clearly the post-season is in the players’ minds, and some of them are highly confident of what they’re going to achieve this season like, “winning the league title for sure, guaranteed,” preached senior third baseman Juan Jose Gonzales.
But the road to a better record than last season’s and a ring are not going to be that easy as the team is going to play in a variety of tournaments such as the So-Cal Easton Tournament and the Poly Classic which have “predominantly harder teams” says Hosegera. Teams such as Harvard Westlake, Oaks Christian, Alemany and many more Southern Section teams will be Kennedy’s toughest competition this year.
With an early exit out of the playoffs last season, Gonzales said that they’ll “use that as motivation, it’ll push us forward. Mistakes cannot be made.”
The team will try their hardest to win city for their fans and especially for Riley as they made that promise to him. They want him to cheer them on from the stands at Dodger Stadium.
They were made aware of Riley and his condition from one of the player’s mother who told the coaches about Riley, and as soon as the news of his disease came to the team, they’ve all had him in their hearts and are striving to reach their goals even harder now.
Junior Moises Carillo stated, “We want to do everything for him; he’s our motivation. He’s in our minds every practice, and he pushes us to be the best we can be. We’ll give it our all not just for our team, but for Riley.”
The team is also showing support for him as they are all wearing wristbands with bold letters saying #TeamRiley.
The heart and dedication that drives the team is well recognized throughout the campus, and head coach Andy Rodriguez stated, “No obstacle is impossible to overcome. I believe in my guys and with the work that they’re showing me day in and day out, other teams should worry about us.”
The team’s first game will be against Marshall High School on February 20 to start off the Poly Classic tournament, and this will be a preview to show what they have in store for league, as they try to contend for a playoff position during the spring.