Baseball program has rough start, low numbers

The baseball program has struggled for the past seasons, and this year’s low numbers have added to the problem. Students have shown up to intramurals and try-outs, but talent is what’s really missing, from varsity coach Leo Alvarez’s perspective. Out of 12 players on the varsity team, five are returning.

“We could always use more participants, but it’s what these kids don’t bring,” said Alvarez. “A lot of them don’t know how to properly throw a ball, or have never joined a little league in middle school.”

Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the school’s baseball program was near its last peak under coach Don Baniewicz. Alvarez faced a declining baseball program when he arrived and took a coaching spot.

“I was surprised coming out of California to come to Hayden and see only about 25 kids want to join,” said Alvarez. “It’s a lot different from when I was in high school, where about 100 kids would be involved in the program.”

Players and Alvarez said that the low participation goes back to apathy and the community. Most students feel that they have better things to do than to play for an unpopular program.

“I think it has a lot to do with technology,” said sophomore Angel Chabolla. “A lot of guys would rather go home and play Xbox, just because the team hasn’t been doing good so far.”

The tough situation has caused some players to set low expectations. Senior and returning player Rene Castaneda hopes to keep a clear perspective.

“I’m somewhat satisfied with what I’ve seen so far, but it’s the laziness that I don’t like,” Castaneda said. “Some people aren’t playing to their full potential.”

Varsity baseball vs Fairfax on Thursday, March 10.
-photos by Monica Contreras (3.24.11)