Actually, it wasn’t so much a “game” as it was a “scrimmage.” The whole purpose of having a team this summer, according to coach Gilbert Alvarado, is to give his squad a head start on next spring.
“I figure the kids that made it to every game got 60 extra innings of ball this summer,” Alvarado said. “I’d have liked to have more, but that’s 60 more innings than they had last year.”
The score of Wednesday’s contest didn’t matter as much to Alvarado as the amount of playing time the kids got – some of whom are incoming freshmen.
“Many of our young kids are getting good experience, and they won’t be afraid of other teams just because of the school’s name,” Alvarado said. “These kids now come out and want to compete, which is great.”
Among the younger players getting some experience were freshmen O.J. Herrera and Matthew Rigsby, both of whom took their turns on the mound and tuned in respectable performances.
There were several upperclassmen on the field as well, including Cade Patterson and Ryan Yaksich. One team member that made a surprising addition was Destri Vincent, star pitcher for the Lady Warrior softball team, on loan from coach Sal Beltran.
“I’ve been trying to get her to come out and play baseball for years now,” Alvarado said. “I asked Sal why he was letting me have her now, and he told me he just wanted me to see what I was missing.”
Vincent held her own, playing third base and right field, and getting the ball into play during one of her at bats against a big and powerful pitcher.
Alvarado said Vincent’s presence was also due to the fact that he wasn’t sure if he’d have enough players for the game on short notice (he did, by about four extra players). That, in turn, is because scheduling this year was sporadic.
“This is the first year doing this, and we had some hitches along the way,” Alvarado said. “We had to squeeze our way in to schedules this summer, but now we’re on other teams’ radars. Next year, we should have a lot more games and a lot more tournaments.”
The entire goal is to get his team further experience beyond the abbreviated spring schedule from March to May. Even though the Road Warriors didn’t have as many games as he would have liked, they’ve got more of a head start on the season now.
“It will be easier for them to hit the ground running than in years before,” Alvarado said. “Otherwise, it’s from May to November before they touch a baseball. We touched a lot on the fundamentals and the guys got a lot of individual attention to work on their skills.
“The best way to learn baseball is to play it,” he added. “We started taking a step in the right direction this year.”