Softball 2009-2010

Where are they now? Where will they be then?
By Monica Contreras (05.17.10)
State dreams. 2-8. “History” in now history.

Metro region champs. And a few trips to the playoffs.

Something about the year 2010 brought life to Carl Hayden sports. Most of that credit should be given to the senior athletes, those that held out all four years and finally carried their teams to wins. The most overlooked support came from the crowds of students who stood by numerous games, dressed in a ridiculous amount of blue and gold.

“The support that fans gave us was huge,” said senior captain of the boys’ soccer team. “I dare to say that that it was the key for making it to the championship.”

But you can’t deprive JV and freshmen teams from their pride either. Some of the most funny and crazy moments take place at these games. You just might see a coach or a ref get mouthy. And most of these kids know how to tell a story. Freshmen and JV sports don’t leave out the remember-to-have-fun part of sports that often gets lost in varsity year.

The 2010-2011 season will need athletes like these. Players that are willing to carry on tradition, who balance pride with cockiness. Players that take the locker room stuff everywhere they go, even if that includes strange humor. And players that know the true meaning of the uniform.

It’s also important to know how to savor the moments and make them last.

“Yes, it [2-8] looks like a losing season,” said junior Oscar Vera, varsity football player, in an interview with the Statesman yearbook. “But since we had a 66-game losing streak, it’s a successful season.”

Without a doubt, moments of the 2010 sports season will still be thought of going into next season’s first games. And just how the coming athletes will carry on this success is something to think about.

The Coaches “Suit Up”
By Monica Contreras (04.21.10)
He wasn’t a player for sure, but he wore that uniform different than anyone else on the team.

Cleats? They were cleaner than most. Jersey? Pressed and ready for a home slide.

Head baseball coach Leo Alvarez’s sports get-up meant uniforms for everybody. While other coaches stood out from their teams in collared Polos and floppy sunhats at practices, Alvarez stood in with the boys. The team huddle now included one more person, a player that gave orders and demanded that they “blow away” their opponent.

The concept of “suiting up” is a small part of the sports world, but sometimes turns out to be the biggest. Uniforms speak for themselves and complete the picture. They can relieve some pre-game anxiety. The numbers and field names give an athlete another name to be know as: Bird, Big Red, Tank.. Shoulder pads and fresh colors suddenly make a player seem more imposing, some added toughness for the girls.

Should the get-up change if a coach were to suit up? Would it have the same effect? The thought of Coach dressing up is like catching the man in his Sunday clothes running the practice drills himself. It wouldn’t fit. But it would be a great perk when it comes to explaining things, a visual aid.

Picture this: The same man that preaches (or yells) out plays for hours, now runs the bases. The same guy that benches you for an entire game, now gets to run suicides and squats down for bear crawls.

So, in a way, Alvarez’ get-up placed him and his players on the same page. For that moment, he was a player. Just someone in the huddle that new what the purpose of conditioning, suicides, up-downs, and lectures was for.

The irony of fùtbol and football
By Monica Contreras (02.09.10)

Fútbol just isn’t football.

Besides playing in a world where football rules all high school sports, coach Cleveland Dansby had trouble recruiting boys and claims he’s gotten a lot of “funny looks” while he is on the hunt. Yet, football remains popular among students that seem to ignore the Streak, and joined the party when it was snapped.

Head soccer coach Abner Calderon hasn’t faced that. Hayden’s population is 94 percent Hispanic. Usually, that means there’s a handful of soccer fans. But in the last couple of years the boys have been underrated. After claiming their spot as Metro Region Champions, you would think Falcon fans would rush on over to carry their team to the championship. And possibly stay as fans of the team and of the sport.

But so far, the bleachers have been abandoned. Soccer captain Jorge Sanchez feels people should recognize the fact that they are bringing the school up. Other than the fact that the Hispanic community looks at soccer as a culture, fans still frolic over football the way Americans worship the game. It may be the wrong attention, but heck, anything to carry on the tradition of Homecoming and spending Friday nights wearing blue and gold.

Fútbol and football. Distant games, and yet they are similar. Soccer fans can chant the same cheers, only they can be rowdier, and blow a horn in the background. And in español, if that counts. The team has their own singers, fans who holler out love songs that way, although who knows what that has to do with the game. One player even said the duets weren’t a distraction.

There’s lots to admire about both sports. Fútbol’s guys get the advantage of the bilingual culture of the game. At one moment, Calderon may be shouting orders across the field at them and then the players reply in English. It’s almost like talking to your neighbor right over the fence.

Even if soccer’s rowdy fans know how to party, the majority of the school’s sports fans still prefer touchdowns over goals. Dansby and his boys made the grass greener on the field. Football just wouldn’t be the same in Spanish.

The girls played an astonishing game against their rivals Maryvale, making them look like they are suppose to be freshmen level instead of JV. The score ended up 41-12. This game is going to be remembered by the Lady Falcons as one of their best games.

JV Softball: Fighting all the way
By Angel Torres (05.04.10)
With their season coming to an end the girls JV softball team feels like they have played their hearts out at every single game. Their record being 11-4, they feel confident of their abilities and now that there are bad and good times involved in sports they feel the need to confront and overcome in order for them to feel like champions. The team says even though they don’t have a trophy to prove their skills to Carl Hayden, they feel they will forever remain champs. This season is memorable for many reasons.

“When we played Marcos De Niza it was memorable,” said sophomore Yvonne Garcia. “Even though we were missing about five players we really stepped up and played a great game against a great team wining 6-5.”

Love from the crowd and family members enjoying the game helps the girls to uplift their spirits when they’re out on the field. The team claims the crowd helps them and makes them feel support from their classmates even with the umpire’s yelling at them to be quiet or they are going to get ejected from the game. But all the girls do agree that having support from their crowd is always helpful.

“The fans are great,” said Garcia. “They cheer me on every time I go up to bat. They scream when the ump gives a bad call and its funny when they get screamed at by the ump for being too loud and obnoxious.”

This season has become a very economical season with players who know about the sport and players that know the rules and what is mandatory of them in order for them to play and continue playing. Some of the players are returning JV players and they know what is expected by the coach and the rules.

“This has been one of the best seasons I have had since I started playing softball,” said junior Nerrisa Palangco. “The team is united and we play as one, not as individuals.”

Facing tough challenges since the beginning of the season where they found themselves with out a catcher but, the team knew that soon enough someone of the team had to step up and take on the challenge. Garcia and Ruby Mena stepped up for the team and played the catcher position.

“I’ve played catcher before, so I already knew what the basic needs of this position was,” said Garcia.

Photos by Marcela Torres and Angel Torres (04.29.10)
Freshmen won their game against Maryvale on Monday, April 26. They struggled through most of the game, but came from behind and ended up winning.

Photos by Monica Contreras (04.09.10)
Head softball coach Alberto Castro and his girls had their chance to claim a payback win against Alhambra on Tuesday, April 6. The team’s last match up resulted in their only loss at the time.

Photos by Monica Contreras (04.09.10)

The freshman softball team lost their first game of the season to Trevor Browne ending their streak at 8-1. A majority of the team’s schedule includes district games.

Photos by Angel Torres (04.02.10)

Jv Softball had a good game against Camelback. They won with a score of 20-6. This exciting game took place at Carl Hayden on Friday, March 26.

Moral Victories: On his road to post-season, varsity softball coach Alberto Castro views previous losses as wake-up calls
By Monica Contreras (04.21.10)
The start of game nine was a payback situation. The opponent was Alhambra, highly ranked among the 5A-1 Division. A previous matchup ended at a 20-3 loss for the Falcons, and varsity softball coach Alberto Castro planned to get his end of the deal.

This game’s attitude was a perfect fit for a spectator, unless that person was coach Castro. The windy weather was beginning to bother him. The outfield was going to have a workout, he predicted.

Just as any other big game should start, the team gathered around for some “focus time.” With a few chants and proud clapping, the mood was set.

“We know what happened last game,” Castro said to the girls. “We play like champions today.”

Though rhythm and intensity seemed persistent, this was one of those games when it fades. Faded like the 20-3 loss, and Castro wasn’t about to have the bases stolen and batting shut-out. Some players called it anxiety; this game cast a shadow on their 7-1 record.

“Corina, those are the plays that I need right now,” he said to his pitcher, regarding the double-play action after first base was given up. “There is a lot at stake in this game, more than you can imagine.” With that, he calls defense on three.

A turn around in the third inning kept spirits up through the remainder of the game. Sophomore Senia Maritnez was placed on the mound in turn for senior Corina Gongora. Chants echoed from the yellow dugout as she pitched the final outs faster than normal. “….and a whoa-oh-oh…you can, you can!” chanted the players, led by senior Ana Magallanes. She yelled out, “I want this game.” She looked up at the broken scoreboard marking 0-3 the entire game, indicating a closer game than it actually was.

Final score: 11-5. After a pep talk in the outfield while athletic trainer Dan Dell O’mo wrapped some players, the girls left the dugout in free spirits. The question was if this loss would affect tomorrow’s game against Fairfax. It wouldn’t be hard to motivate the girls, Castro thought. For there was another chance to win all the same.

“We played better, but we were still missing that spark that makes Carl Hayden softball,” he said. “They didn’t give us something we hadn’t seen. They (the team) proved to themselves that we can play ball. We are ranked, and we have a very,very good chance of moving forward.”

These back to back games against Fairfax looked sweet for senior Irene Rios. The first home game was a home win at 13-11, close due to the fact that the opposition had good arm strength, said some players.

“It’s fun beating ’em here and beating them on their home field,” said Rios. She rubbed her hands together in satisfaction. It was evident that last season’s drive never felt like this.

Freshman sports should get recognition
By Marcela Torres (04.02.10)
Freshman sports hardly get the same amount of attention than varsity sports. Freshmen come to think that students seem to care more about varsity teams than freshmen. This year the freshman softball team has been undefeated but hasn’t been recognized, winning all eight of their games.

“I choose to play softball because it always gets so competitive,” said freshman catcher Blanca Pulido.

Many students believe that playing sports during freshman year is important. Freshman sports gives athletes experience, and it’s the first step to gaining confidence, getting better and getting ready for JV and varsiy.

“Freshman year is important because that’s where a winning program starts and students decide whether they like to continue playing sports for the different programs here at school,” said freshman softball coach Carlos Gonzalez.

Although the team is winning, being a team is a factor the team needs to work on according to the coach. Their coach is helping them work on teamwork skills and respecting each other. The team does play well, but since there are a few beginner,s teaching each of them rules and positions is something that always needs work.

“We are working on getting to know each others strengths,” said Gonzalez. “That way we can complement each other.”

Players agree that freshman sports should be encouraged instead of being pushed away from fame. Freshman teams are at the beginning of finding new athletes and preparing them for JV and varsity, which is important to the school on having better athletes. Freshman teams should be as important as the other levels, knowing that they will soon be varsity-level athletes. Some freshmen begin playing sports not even knowing the basics, let alone the rules.

“Freshmen are always as important as any other level,” said Pulido. “Joining freshman year helps you get to know the coaches and have a feeling about what the whole sport is about for the next years.”

As the team keeps playing and practicing they may become better athletes. Practicing and working hard gets them to know their strengths and weaknesses. Being involved and in club and sports is always a benefit to students. They can win awards, such as scholarships.

“I think people should know about freshman teams because they are the future varsity,” said Pulido.

Deciding what sport to play freshman year is a hard decision, because choosing a certain sport means that you want to play and you are ready to learn all about it. An athlete focuses on this sport and gives it his all.

“I think freshman sports are just as important as all the other levels,” said Gonzalez. “It’s all fun and competition.”