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Prepping for Success - 2020

 
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Mon 3/9/20 11:43 pm    Post subject: Prepping for Success - 2020 Reply with quote

Here we go, already a week into the CIF season. I've been unable to locate much of a national preview on BaseballAmerica.com, which is unusual since they typically have capsulized reports on the cream of the crop around the U.S. posted by February.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Wed 3/25/20 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, they barely made it through a week of play before the CIF baseball season was cancelled.

The Boras Classic included some of the last games played even with the uneasiness of the times, and it certainly is summed up with an air of uncertainty:

Quote:
As I leave the field, I’m aware that this will be the last live baseball I see for a while. But these boys are so young, their siblings more so. Their parents aren’t so gray. Their jerseys are already printed. Many of them will be back. I wonder what that day will look like.



Crying or Very sad
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forloveofthegame



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PostPosted: Thu 3/26/20 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right and I had not even commented on this thread yet!

I liked Megan Rowley's article. Baseball seems in a weird place right now since we have no idea about the timetable of when things might start again.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Sat 3/28/20 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually have a couple of updates for this thread.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Sat 4/4/20 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A foregone conclusion is now official.

From the L.A. Times (I included only the baseball/softball excerpts, not all other spring sports):

"CIF Cancels Athletics for Rest of Spring Season"


By JEFF TULLY, CHARLES RICH, VINCENT NGUYEN
APRIL 3, 2020 2:18 PM

Local athletes and sports programs were dealt a devastating blow last month when all athletic practices and events were postponed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the midst of social distancing, the call for a ban on large-group gatherings and stay-at-home warnings, some athletes continued to work out and stay in shape in hopes the spring high school season would be reinstated at a later date.

Unfortunately, as the COVID-19 epidemic continued to grow and the number of infected increased, the possibility of resuming the spring campaign drew dimmer by the day.

Those fears were realized when the CIF, the governing body of high school sports in the state, made the decision to cancel the remainder of the spring sports season.

That decision was delivered in a statement Friday afternoon by CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti.

“Based on the recent statements issued by Governor [Gavin] Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, regarding schools turning to distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) does not see an avenue for the spring sports season to continue,” the statement read. “As such, in consultation today with the 10 Section commissioners, the decision has been made to cancel spring Section, Regional, and State Championship events.

“We understand this is disappointing for everyone involved in education-based athletics and empathize with our student-athletes and all who are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. As always, our top priority is everyone’s ongoing health and safety during this challenging time, and we all look forward to the day when education-based athletics resumes.”

The decision came three days after Thurmond acknowledged in a letter to district superintendents that schools would likely not reopen this school year in wake of safety concerns over the COVID-19 crisis.

“I’m writing to you regarding the current status of schools in California,” the letter stated. “As you know we continue to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus and how those impacts make it unsafe for our students to be served on school campuses at this time. The need for safety through social distancing warrants that we continue to keep our school campuses closed to students during this pandemic.

“Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year. This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning.”

The decision to cancel the spring sports season has been devastating news for players and coaches. It has become a lost season for many and will likely spell the end of the playing careers for many seniors who will not compete in college.

...Providence High baseball coach Mando Contreras said he feels for the players who have seen their season come to a crashing halt. But he is trying to help his players through the tough time and has an ingenious idea to salute his seniors.

“The guys who have been on varsity for four years and have grinded and worked hard to get to this point, it’s especially tough for them,” Contreras said. “They have seen other players get honored the past few years in our senior game, and they won’t be able to experience that. ...I feel for them. But at the same time we know shutting things down now is the right thing to do."

“But actually we have this thing going with my coaches and I, where we want to honor those seniors and host their senior night next year, maybe during their winter break or first year of college. We said we are going to do something for them, whatever it is, maybe have a game in spring that instead of an alumni game we have a returning senior game. We will get it down for them.”

Flintridge Prep senior baseball player Ben Grable and the Rebels entered the season with high expectations.

Grable, a pitcher/shortstop who will be attending Northwestern University in the fall, hasn’t been able to participate in practices or games since mid-March. “It’s really tough for us because we had a very good team and we were expecting to go far in the playoffs,” said Grable, an All-CIF football honoree last fall. “It’s been a crazy experience these last few weeks and it’s the first time in a couple of years that I haven’t gone to practice right after school.

“We understand the move for CIF to shut down the season and it’s the smart thing to do. I can’t blame them for their decision.”

Crescenta Valley standout and all-state softball pitcher Dee Dee Hernandez had plans to try to help the Falcons win a second consecutive CIF championship.

Hernandez, a junior left-hander who also is a member of the Mexican National Team, said while it’s difficult not having the opportunity to try to win another title, she agrees with the decision handed down by CIF.

“If CIF’s best interest is to take care of us, then I’m all for stopping the season,” Hernandez said. “I don’t want anybody getting sick and I’m all for safety first.

“I miss going out to the field after school to practice or play games because it made your days full of happiness. There’s really no point playing games [on the field] and we should be staying inside now. It’s important that we stay safe and positive.”

...On the diamond, the La Cañada softball team hoped to defend its Rio Hondo League title for a sixth time in what could have been a tougher season than usual.

Spartans coach Chuck Gunter anticipated that improvements around the league could be a challenge for the team, but after a strong start to the season and a shutout victory against Temple City in the league opener, La Cañada had momentum on its side.

“I wish we can play San Marino, Monrovia and even South Pasadena,” Gunter said. “They have a new coach, so it’s always fun to play somebody when they have someone else coaching them and you can see the changes. The league’s getting better and better and it would’ve been fun to play.”

The Spartans had a bright start to their campaign and were unbeaten in the first eight games (7-0-1) before the 4-0 win against the Rams on March 6. “I think we showed them that we’re still the team to win league,” Gunter said. “The score was only 4-0, but we left bases loaded three times. We really dominated them, so I wish we could play them again and show that it was not just a fluke.”

This season, La Cañada shortstop Ian Tinkham hoped to help the baseball team make another run at a CIF Southern Section title game after last year’s bid for a championship fell short in the Division III final.

Like the softball team, the Spartans baseball team opened up Rio Hondo League play with a win versus Temple City.

With a team that graduated key seniors from last season’s title run, Tinkham was one of six seniors that hoped to lead a young team to a second consecutive league title and a deep run in the playoffs.

“It’s the worst thing that my senior year has been taken away,” said Tinkham, who hit .444 with eight hits and four runners batted in in five games this season. “I wish I could be out on the field with all my friends playing because that’s what I want to do. But I know my venture for baseball is not over and I know that this isn’t my last year. I’m keeping my head high.”

Tinkham was an all-league first-team returning shortstop for the Spartans, whose season ends with a 2-6 overall record after a tough nonleague schedule.

...Tinkham is recovering from an injury he suffered last summer. Tinkham tore his left labrum, but was able to recover in time to compete in a few games early in the season.

“The players want to play,” Tinkham said. “If it’s possible, we just want a season. We want games. The athletes and the students want games to play. It doesn’t matter when. If it gets postponed, we’ll still play and it will be still fun. We just want a senior year.”
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sunnyblue



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PostPosted: Tue 4/7/20 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was looking forward to see how the top players would perform and also what diamonds in the rough might have been found. Just like everything else associated with high school seniors who are not going to be able to enjoy graduation and prom etc. it's sad for the athletes they won't have their last chance to impress scouts with their skills.

Also no Lions Tournament this year either. Sad
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Tue 4/14/20 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Times has been keeping tabs on various prep athletes ever since quarantine season began. Here's one such update:


Column: Saugus’ Hayden Trowbridge Tries to Stay Positive in Troubling Times


By ERIC SONDHEIMER, COLUMNIST
MARCH 25, 2020 3:26 PM

In this uncertain world of COVID-19, where politicians are arguing, adults are stressed out and sports competitions are on hold, perhaps it’s time to turn to a level-headed teenager for inspiration. Meet 17-year-old Hayden Trowbridge, a baseball player from Saugus High who experienced a school shooting last fall and continues to offer words of hope as his senior season remains on hold.

“To put it short, I’m OK,” Trowbridge said by phone. “There’s a lot of people who say this has been their worst year ever and we’ve gone through so much. I think it’s been a year of lessons and learning to be an adult way earlier than I need to do.”

The class of 2020 at Saugus was already dealing with the consequences of a school shooting on Nov. 14 that resulted in five classmates being shot, two fatally.

Trowbridge was in an American government class when he heard disturbing sounds of gunshots.

“I knew after the third loud bang. I said, ‘Oh, this is real.’ I yelled at somebody to lock the door. I immediately went into fight mode,” he said.

It took 90 minutes to be evacuated. “It felt like three hours,” he said.

School was closed until Dec. 2. Saugus Strong became the school’s motto as the community came together to support one another. Life moved on.

Trowbridge, one of the few Centurions with starting experience, began the baseball season with an injured back. After eight games this season word came down from the William S. Hart Union High School District that all sports competition would be halted until April 30 in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. That effectively ended Trowbridge’s season, because the final regular-season game is scheduled for April 30. The campus was eventually closed and classes were switched to online.

What’s a teenager supposed to do after experiencing two shocks in one school year?

“I have a quote in my room. ‘Life will always throw curves, just keep fouling them off. The right pitch will come and when it does, be prepared to run the bases,’” Trowbridge said.

Trowbridge is showing how to handle curveballs in the era of required social distancing and social isolation. This last weekend, he went on a hike. He continues to work out at a friend’s batting cage. He played catch with a friend. He used FaceTime to speak to friends in London and Thailand. He started a podcast in 2018, “Teen Talk” about issues facing teenagers. Most importantly, he’s focusing on positives instead of negatives.

“This has allowed the opportunity to understand how important community is,” he said. “You can’t ever plan for this. It just happens. It’s how you react to it. Although it was very shocking, we came together as a community more than we have in my life. Everybody has been told quarantine, but more than ever I see families walking and going on hikes and talking.

“You can always see the bad, but it’s good for dads finally having time to be with their kids. I know it’s been great to have my parents home. We can can play games, we can talk, we can make breakfast together. People don’t do that anymore. We’re forcing ourselves to slow down to understand how amazing life is.”

It’s not just Trowbridge adapting and adjusting.

Jackson Benattar, a junior center fielder at Encino Crespi, is batting .607. His grade-point average is 4.2. In what might have been his final baseball game for 2020 on March 11, he went four for four against Mission League favorite Studio City Harvard-Westlake.

If any teenager should be feeling sorry for himself in this time of no sports and closed schools, it should be Benattar, who lost his 24-year-old cousin to drowning in Oklahoma, having to fly on a Saturday to the funeral after playing in a game on a Friday.

“Life is not fair right now,” he said.

And yet, Benattar is gritting his teeth, logging into his computer, grabbing his weights and preparing for whatever lies ahead.

“Live the moment,” he said. “Control what you can control. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Expect the unexpected.”
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Sun 4/19/20 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, guess who was featured in today's senior profiles in the Times!

Season Interrupted: Kyle Karros Has Found a new Family Corner"

By ERIC SONDHEIMER, COLUMNIST
APRIL 19, 2020 6 AM

Throughout the spring, The Times will interview high school seniors whose athletic careers were cut short by the coronavirus outbreak.

Name: Kyle Karros

School: Manhattan Beach Mira Costa

Sport: Baseball, third baseman

Key stats: Hit .400 in eight games this spring.

Summer plans: Working out with his father, former Dodger Eric Karros, and brother Jared, a pitcher at UCLA.

Fall plans: Will attend UCLA.

Season Interrupted: Max Rajcic

On playing with many of his teammates since Little League:

“That’s the toughest pill to swallow, the fact I’m not going to be able to go out on the field and play with my best friends since I was 8 years old.”

On the advantage of having his father and brother available to work out with:

“My brother and I will throw together. With my dad, I’ve got my hitting coach in my quarantine group. I’ve got a spot to hit in the home. I’ve got a spot to lift weights. I couldn’t ask for a better setup to get through this.”

On his father’s major league career:

“Any time there’s a game on the Dodger channel that he’s playing in, he always gets the family around because me and my brother never got to see him play. He’ll fast forward and make sure he stops on his at-bats if it’s a home run. He’ll provide the instructional part of the video, pause it and go frame by frame.”

What he misses most:

“It’s the games and the lack of teammates. I can still work out and do a lot of things sports-related, but I’m really lacking that team energy being without my best friends.”

“I’m doing puzzles. I’m trying to finish 1,000-piece puzzles in six hours. I’m getting good. It entertains me. It’s relaxing. It challenges me.”

Where he sees himself in 10 years:

“I definitely see a nice three-year career at UCLA, getting drafted and riding out baseball. My thing is play baseball, love the game.”
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forloveofthegame



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PostPosted: Mon 4/20/20 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I imagine you have already seen this, but there is a letter Christian Yelich wrote to the baseball team at his alma mater, Westlake High. I thought it was a kind gesture for him to make - linked from mlb.com here
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Mon 4/20/20 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved it. He's such a good guy.

Meanwhile, here's another profile from the Times:

"Season Interrupted: SoCal’s Top High School Pitcher has Dodgers Dreams"

By ERIC SONDHEIMER, COLUMNIST
APRIL 17, 2020 12:52 PM

Throughout the spring, The Times will interview high school seniors whose athletic careers were cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Name: Max Rajcic

School: Orange Lutheran

Sport: Baseball, pitcher

Key stats: 3-0 with an 0.00 ERA, 32 strikeouts and one walk in 22 2/3 innings, six hits allowed

Summer plans: Projected to be high pick in MLB draft

Fall plans: Will sign pro contract or attend UCLA

On life without sports?

“Life without baseball has been a little different. I’ve never had spring off. I’ve never had a spring break. This is really new to me. It’s weird.”

How he’s been working out:

“My little brother — he’s a sophomore — I fight with him to play catch. It’s always a big scene. I’ve been biking with my friends and we’re staying six feet away. I have a little gym at my house. I’ve been lifting weights and also doing ladders, biking and a few runs.”

How he stays positive amid so much negativity:

“What’s going on is bigger than baseball. There’s lives affected. It still stings that my season got cut short, but it’s the big picture.”

How the sports stoppage has changed his outlook:

“I didn’t realize how much sports is necessary to my life. I play all day, then come back and watch the Angels, Dodgers, Lakers. Not having that, I don’t know what to do, what to watch on TV.”

The new things he’s discovering with his newfound free time:

“I’m learning life skills around the house, like painting, sanding. I’ve been cleaning a lot. My room is probably the cleanest it’s ever been.”


“I wouldn’t mind being in a Dodger uniform. That would be a dream for sure. I see myself in MLB and want to be one of the best pitchers.

What he misses most:

“Going to the baseball field with my teammates every day. Every time, we’d be like brothers. I miss that bond. We’d always compete. We tried to make each other better.”
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sunnyblue



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PostPosted: Tue 4/21/20 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's good to read the updates. I would have been following the Karros brothers, for sure, and thanks for posting about others. Could Rajcic become the next OL first round pick? Gerrit Cole should be writing him a letter.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Wed 4/29/20 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's too bad we're missing so much of this, right?
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PostPosted: Wed 5/6/20 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Season Interrupted: JSerra’s Colby Canales Finds Inspiration at Home"

By ERIC SONDHEIMER, COLUMNIST
MAY 5, 2020 6:30 AM

Throughout the spring, The Times will interview high school seniors whose athletic careers were cut short by the coronavirus outbreak.

Name: Colby Canales

School: San Juan Capistrano JSerra

Sport: Baseball, third base

Key stats: Was batting .333 for the No. 2-ranked baseball team in the Southland

Summer plans: Hopes to play in a collegiate league

Fall plans: Will attend Pacific


On learning the season was canceled:

“It was definitely emotional on all levels. Seniors, juniors, even sophomores felt it. Everyone here uses the term family and it was real. We’re all upset about it but there’s bigger problems out there besides baseball.”

On the car caravan that was organized to honor coach Brett Kay:

“All our parents set up a drive-by to go to Coach Kay’s house. The players met up. It was good to see everyone in their cars. We hadn’t seen each other in almost a month. We drove to his house. All the neighbors come out, ‘What the heck is going on?’ He comes out and is super excited. He asks how all the players are doing. It shows how good he is. He cares more about the families than baseball.”

On the new things he’s learning with free time:

“I’ll ask my mom, ‘Hey, how do I do laundry?’”

On how he’s changed:

“As an athlete, it’s made me work on things myself. As a person, my mom is a breast cancer survivor. She goes and works every day. It’s getting up every day and doing what you have to do.”

On the lessons he’s learned:

“Any game could be your last game. Any day of school could be your last day of school. Our last game against Santa Margarita I never thought my last at-bat would be that. It was a double to tie the game in the last inning. If I could, I’d go back and relive that moment knowing it was going to be my last at-bat.”

Where he sees himself in 10 years:

“I want to study business law and as much as I can continue baseball.”

Video interviews of each athlete can be found at latimes.com/sports/highschool.

"Season Interrupted: Life Throws a Curveball, so Jared Jones Adds One to Repertoire"

April 25, 2020

Name: Jared Jones

School: La Mirada

Sport: Baseball, pitcher

Key stats: He was 2-1 with an earned-run average of 0.82 and 28 strikeouts in 17 innings when this season was halted. He went 7-1 with an ERA of 0.77 in 2019.

Summer plans: He will prepare for the Major League Baseball draft.

Fall plans: He will either sign a pro contract or enroll at the University of Texas, where he could join up with Sherman Oaks Notre Dame’s Lucas Gordon.

On life without sports:

“My entire life, I grew up around sports. Even when I was a kid, when I finished baseball season, I’d play a different sport. My entire life since I was 5 years old, I’ve been playing sports.”

The creative ways he’s deploying to stay in shape:

“I have a gym at my house. When I need to throw, I’ll either call Darius Perry, my old catcher, or my dad.”

The secret behind his hallmark slider:

“I just started throwing that my freshman year. I kept working at it. I have a three-quarters arm slot, and that arm slot and the way I spin it comes off pretty good.”

How the sports stoppage has changed his outlook:

“You really get more of a love [of] the sport. Not playing for the past month is tearing me up inside.”

The highlight of his high school career:

“I’ll never forget sophomore year when we played 12-13 innings against Woodbridge. I came in relief and pitched seven innings, struck out 13 and hit a walk-off grand slam.”

The new thing he’s trying with his free time:

“I’m learning how to throw a curveball because I need a fourth pitch.”
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Sat 5/23/20 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Placemarking this page because I have some more updates!
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Mon 6/29/20 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to try to post the last couple of profiles in this series, tomorrow.
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