Lack of interest plagues baseball, softball teams

BP Photo by Goldie Fields

Sigal Spitzer, Staff Writer

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 Softball team cancels season after four losses – but later than last year; Baseball makes playoffs

After starting off with a full slate of scheduled games for spring, the softball season was cancelled due to lack of interest after only four games, all losses.

However, that was actually better than last year, when the softball season was cancelled after only one game.

The boys’ baseball team also struggled with poor attendance and lack of interest, though it ended with a 4- 3 record before falling in a single-elimination playoff game with several non-team members subbing in its lineup.

“About five people come to practice consistently,” said freshman Max Helfand. “We need nine to actually play, and it’s better to have more in case someone can’t come.”

Girls softball shut down entirely after losing 29 – 2 to Brentwood School March 22. Earlier losses were 7 – 0 to Buckley March 20, 26 – 0 to Moreno Valley March 16, and 25 – 4 to Providence High School on March 12.

“Not enough people were dedicated or showed up to practices,” said sophomore Talya Joffe.  “It was a waste to keep the team going if we put so much effort into the practices but had to forfeit all of the games due to lack of commitment.”

Jalani Bendelle coached the girls’ softball team and the boys’ baseball team was led by Donald Harisson, or Coach Don.

Softball tried to practice three times a week on the Sport Court or at Rancho Park, but few players showed up regularly, Talya said. Often they asked other female students to sub for a game or more because they needed more players.

Junior Shayna Gersten came to help for one game and ended up joining the team, she said, while senior Deanna Grunfeld improved the team’s performance on the day she came.

But very few girls actually played regularly on the team.

“Some of the people who came really helped out.”  Talya said.  “Deanna was really competitive and a great addition that day in the field.’

Still, the girls were encouraged by what they considered better coaching than last year’s, when the team played only once before disbanding.

“It was an improvement because the coach was more determined,” junior Yael Weiner said. “He had a goal for us and that motivated us.”

Talya Joffe agreed.

“Our coach did more exercises with us and we learned proper stance,” said Talya.  “He actually knew what he was doing and taught us the game.”

Senior David Fletcher acted as an assistant coach for girls softball, attending all games and practices helping the teamwork on pitching and catching skills.

“We had four or five people at practice and a team simply cannot function like that,” David said.

Led by captains Josh Meisel and Adam Kellner, the boy’s baseball team also improved this year.  Last year, it ended in regulation season.  The boys usually practiced once a week at Rancho Park.

“We have a good group of guys who work well together.” Josh said, “We stand together and always have each other’s backs.”

The baseball team ended with a winning record, defeating Valley Torah 9-7 and Westview twice. The team also played Pacific Lutheran two times, losing first 2-4, and then, with the coach absent, 0-16 in a game in which the Firehawks made not a single hit.

But when it came time for their first playoff game, just like the softball team did they had to draft non-team players to fill the roster, because the senior boys were already in Poland.

GET INFO HERE ON WHO THE NON-TEAM MEMBERS WERE WHO PLAYED IN THAT GAME. EITAN WILL KNOW BECAUSE HE WAS ONE OF THEM … THX EITAN!

They lost that game May 20 to Temecula Prep, 20-1, and were eliminated from the playoffs.

Though the season is over, younger players are already thinking about how to advance the team further next year.

“We need to improve the commitment,” said Max Helfand. “The guys are all great but we need more commitment if we want to improve next year.”

Coach Flava said he hoped that was possible.

“I need to make sure I have 12 committed players to have a team in the future,” said Athletic Director Coach Ronnie “Flava” Winbush.   “If the commitment was there, without a doubt I would have a team again in the future.”

 

 

 

 

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