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Fall Baseball: On the road to third consecutive MRL League Title

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Carson Phillips(11) hitting live from the pitching machine.

Carson Phillips(11) hitting live from the pitching machine.

Carson Phillips(11) hitting live from the pitching machine.

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This year’s varsity baseball team has big shoes to fill from past years. In 2015, Serrano Baseball won the CIF SS Division 4 Championship, as well as being crowned MRL League Champions.

In 2016, the team managed to win MRL as well. Expectations for this season are set pretty high, and Head Coach Joe Knowlton says, “We have a good chance to do well.”

It’s September and Serrano Fall Baseball is back getting ready for the upcoming 2017 season. Try-outs aren’t until January, but practice for returning players has already begun, and practice games have also started on Saturdays. Coach Tim Kelly, Coach Pond, and Coach Bechter are running practices on Wednesdays and Fridays as Head Coach Joe Knowlton coaches freshman football.

Returning varsity player Anthony Iorio (12) feels, “Fall ball helps me get practice before the season begins.” His main goals to accomplish before the regular season are to be successful in hitting, play good defense, and most importantly, win.

Anthony Iorio(12) warming up getting ready to throw a bullpen.

Anthony Iorio (12) warming up getting ready to throw a bullpen.

This year, Fall Baseball conditioning is mandatory for any returning players that want to try out for the regular season. If you do not attend, you cannot tryout. This is the first time the program has been mandatory, and it’s for good reason.

“It’s important to learn to play together as a team, and also it shows who really wants to be here. Dedication,” says Coach Kelly, who has been coaching baseball for 18 years. He also adds, “the offseason is when you want to learn and improve your skills both as an individual player and as a team. This is the time to work on stuff, not during the regular season.”

Coach Knowlton says the reason Fall Baseball is now mandatory is to get “more unity as a team. In the past we didn’t make it mandatory so people who did not want to go didn’t go.”

Many think this negatively influenced last year’s varsity team, and caused losses that could have been wins. There’s nothing to lose and only to gain from making fall baseball mandatory and hopefully this shows in the 2017 season.

One controversial topic this year has been the departure of several players to other high schools, including to Serrano’s rival Oak Hills.

Coach Knowlton thinks, at some point, players are really missing what high school sports is really about. “Instead of working hard and making their school and team better they just move to ‘greener pastures’, and that tells me more about the player than anything else. You worked hard for the past 3 years here at Serrano just to transfer?”

Players stretching getting ready for Wednesday's practice.

Players stretching getting ready for Wednesday’s practice.

These players feel their move was justified. Former Serrano player Mauricio Bueno (12) who transferred to Oak Hills, says he transferred because the “baseball team is going to be better”.

Knowlton likes loyal, developing players who stay true to playing as a Diamondback. Coach Knowlton knows loyalty, as this year will be his 21st year coaching at Serrano and 30th year overall. Knowing that most transfers went to Oak Hills, Coach Knowlton adds, “How is it better than a team that has won back to back league titles?”

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The student news site of Serrano High School
Fall Baseball: On the road to third consecutive MRL League Title