Play Ball!

March 8, 2017

Kevin Candray
Lady As play at the Hawthorne High School field.

On Feb. 28, the HMSA Aviator Boys baseball team season will commence, with Mr. Dura as head coach of the team. Last year, the baseball team did not enjoy as much success as it would have liked. Now, with a lot more confidence, grit, and tenacity, the Aviators are looking to make a home run in this upcoming season. In addition, the girls softball team (Lady A’s)  will also be making a debut as Mr. Dura will also be the head coach of the Lady A’s. Last season, the team finished with a record of 14 win, 7 losses, and 1 tie. This being the best season ever for the Lady A’s.

Both the baseball and softball teams will be making their first debut Feb. 28. The Aviators baseball team will go up against Lawndale HS, while the Lady A’s will go on the road to face off at Hawthorne HS. The Lady A’s second game will be Thursday, March 2, on the road at Long Beach Jordan. The Aviators baseball team will be facing against their second opponent at Environmental Charter.

In order to improve for this upcoming season Lady A’s head coach, Mr. Dura, said, “The Lady A’s will need to step up their game mentally and get ready for league play in April and early May.” In addition, Coach Dura added, “I am confident that we should be in contention for a playoff spot. The A’s have a good shot at being league co-champions this year and we are going to press hard with the mental aspects of the game to make sure everyone is up and ready to play.” Despite losing some of last year’s senior players on the Lady A’s softball team, this year’s seniors will step it up to ensure a successful season.

Baseball player Markus C., described the type of motivation the boys need in order to prepare for this season:  “Sportsmanship is our number one priority. The only way to get better at fielding grounders is to get those repetitions in until a ground ball becomes routine.”  Coach Dura says that ll 21 players on the Aviator boys baseball team are “competing for starting spots on Varsity.” The Aviator boys baseball team plans to fundamentally improve their team play. Because there are nine starting positions on the varsity team, “[this] will help [the team] improve because everyone wants a starting job.”

With a lot to improve for this upcoming season, both baseball and softball teams are determined to have a successful run. With all the excitement and anticipation building up, this upcoming season for both baseball and softball will be one heck of a season.

                 Lady A’s fever, catch it! Goooooo A’s, you know!!!

Lady A’s Fever on its Start

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Fortune Sobotie

Lady A’s pose for a group picture at the beginning of the season.

The Lady A’s started their season with victories and giving us a good feeling about the season. So far, they’ve played 3 league games and have been victorious on all of them. They are challenging themselves by playing lower division teams and having excellent performances in the field. Divisions are based on school size, meaning that the lower the division, the more experienced the players are because the school is bigger. HMSA is in the top ten division, meaning that they are doing great; being some of the best, even though we’re a small school. 

In their game against Morningside, the Lady A’s had a great victory. They ended up playing five innings, when they were supposed to play seven, due to their huge advantage in the game. They had a 20 run lead by the fifth inning, meaning the game was over and they had the victory. Sophomore Julissa T., number 26, started for the varsity pitching position and remained there for two innings.

Throughout the game, when victory was certain, Mr. Dura put in girls from the JV team to play as well and Cinthya M. pitched. After Mr. Dura made these adjustments, Morningside scored 3 runs, but by the fifth inning, D. Lockett was put in the game to “pitch and close the game,” as junior Hazel A. said. D. Lockett also scored home runs and was once again a major force in the game. Sophomore, Hillary P. mentioned, “I think our game against Morningside was a highlight to our league. The JV also got a lot of practice playing against a varsity team.” The bench was loud with cheers making sure to show their team spirit and motivation. The girls ended their game with a 22-3 victory that marked history this early in the league.

Lady A’s play a home game at Holly Park. Photo by Hazel A.

The Lady A’s continue to play tournaments on Saturdays. In their last two Saturday tournaments, on March 18, the girls took two wins against division 5 and 6 schools, while the Lady A’s are division 7. The start of the Lady A’s fever has the players looking forward to future games and confident that this season will be filled with success.

Slowly Getting There

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Oscar Rosas

Mr. French giving the boys a pep talk.

The HMSA boys baseball team played a challenging home match on Thursday, March 16 against Animo Leadership High School at Holly Park. Despite the loss, this match not only showed the true potential of the Aviators but also that they are significant competition against one of the top teams in the league.

Before the game, I got the chance to talk to HMSA’s boys baseball Coach, Mr. French. He said, “Baseball is my passion” and there’s no doubt in that remark when seeing the Aviators warm up before the game. Coach French does interactive warm-ups with the Aviators, making sure they are ready and stretched out for the game. When Coach French and the Aviators huddle up for a pep talk, the excitement and motivation help lift the Aviators’ spirits and improve performance on the field. This really helped the Aviators start off the match strong.

With lifted spirits, the boys prepare for their game. Photo by Oscar Rosas

The match started beyond excellent for the Aviators as they played defense for the top of the first inning. Freshman Shyam P. did some solid pitching on the top of the first inning striking out one of the opposing batters, giving the Aviators a strong lead in defense. There is no doubt Shyam is a vital addition to the team and with his age and skill he’ll without a doubt be critical for the next three years to come. The Aviator boys baseball catcher Josue L. had some things to say about him: “When I first practiced with him, I knew he was going to be a great player on the team. He is a great pitcher, and a great hitter as well. He has a great way of communicating with all other players on the team. He does his best in games and practices, and is a great teammate.” Center field Anthony H. also played great defense closing up the top of the fourth inning with an outstanding catch on the field. Overall the boys’ defense played beyond outstanding at the start, but struggled pitching a bit in the fifth and sixth inning, since most of the experienced pitchers had already pitched in earlier innings. Third basemen David L. said that “accuracy on throwing and pitching” is where the biggest mistakes occur, but with enough practice, they’ll overcome these errors. They noticed their mistakes, all that’s left to do is practice.

Offensively, the Aviators showed they can bat the ball, and bat it hard. During the bottom of the first inning, with two strikes on his shoulder, Mark R. managed to clutch the situation and showed fierce arm power striking the ball far, hitting the fence, just centimeters away from a home run. Anthony H. showed great eyesight and managed a walk to first base. Shortly after, Meka O. batted, giving Mark the first run for the Aviators. Then, in the bottom of the second inning, Meka once again hit an amazing bat securing two runs for Anthony H. and Mark R.. Going all the way to the fifth inning, Meka hit an outstandingly impressive home run. When I saw it for myself there was no doubt it was a home run and I was correct, it went well beyond the fence. The Aviators showed an amazing offense that even one of the best teams struggled to put to an end.

A great aspect of the HMSA boys baseball team is the atmosphere. The screaming and cheering the boys do for one another from the dugout is heartwarming. They motivate each other during good times to keep up their spirits or during struggling times to relieve any stress or anxiety during the game. The optimism makes this team seem like a family rather than just teammates. On the bus, dugout, or field, the optimism is everywhere; as a staff member for the Aviator news being present at the game, they were eager not to leave me out.

I got the opportunity to speak to the former HMSA boys baseball coach, Mr. Hurwitz, and asked him a few questions. Mr. Hurwitz says he “still comes to the games” so he gets to witness any performance changes on the team and said that “they’ve improved vastly” and that this game “showed that they can win.” Overall, despite this tough loss, the Aviators showed that not only are they capable of challenging the top teams in the league but that they have improved, and expect to improve even more. At the end of the game, center field Anthony H. said, “It was definitely one of our better played games, despite the score, in terms of hustle, scoring, and teamwork. It was a hard fought game, especially in the first half but it soon started unraveling in the second half and we lost it, but I must say with each game we play, the team is more disciplined and each person is determined to evolve into a better player for the next game, not just as an individual but as a whole.” With 14 games left in the season, the Aviators abilities will be tested as they face more teams in their league, and with their fierce determination, we’ll see how they stack up against their upcoming opponents.

Boys Baseball Season Recap

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Kevin Candray

The boys baseball team runs through their poster.

The Boys Aviator Baseball Team came to a strong end this year and their performance undoubtedly reflects that.

With a record of 6-13, the Aviators have seen a vast improvement since their 2015-2016 season, especially since this season is the closest the Aviators have made it to the playoffs. Of course, there’s “always room for improvement” said Catcher Josue L. after their final season game. With the playoffs being a fingertip away, the Aviators will put in the extra effort to achieve this milestone.

With half the team being composed of seniors, many of them being key players, the Aviators will be in need for players. Fortunately, with young talents such as freshmen Shyam P., and plenty of skilled juniors like Anthony H., the Aviators are still looking strong despite the loss of seniors. Pitcher Don M. commented on behalf of the seniors, “We have to keep our heads up and play even stronger than before because if we’re going to take their spot, we better make them proud.” Getting into the playoffs next year isn’t impossible, but it’s definitely going to take hard commitment.

In the 2016-2017 Aviator season, most games won were league games which really helped them move up to one slot in the standings since their last league standings. Key games include the March friendly against Animo Leadership Highschool, a top tier team. Although the Aviators lost, they showed Animo that they were capable of getting multiple runs on them. Another notable game was the Aviators final league game against Vistamar. The Aviators lost to Vistamar in an earlier league game but redeemed themselves as they demolished them in a 15-5 win, showing how much the Aviators have improved by finishing the season strong.

The Aviators have a long way to go to reach the playoffs and although the seniors are leaving off to college next year, the playoffs are definitely viable. How will the Aviators stack against their opponents next season? Only their hard work and effort will tell. For more coverage on Aviators Baseball stay tuned. Until then, see you next season Aviators.

 

Lady A’s Have Come to Upset

The Lady A’s started out their season strong, and they appear to not be letting up. They feel determined to make us feel secure about that this season will be the best one yet!

The Lady A’s have played nine games so far this season and they’ve won eight of those and lost only one. Mr. Dura and the girls are extremely proud of their accomplishments and are happy to see the positive results of all their hard work.

Before heading off to a much-needed Spring Break, The Lady A’s played a fantastic game against Animo Leadership on Thursday, April 6, and did not disappoint. The lady A’s went to break with one more victory under their belts. They ended up with a score of 16-6.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Lady A’s sat on a comfortable 5-0 lead and as the game progressed, they kept getting ahead in the runs. However, during the second inning, Animo managed to secure two runs and on the fourth, they secured one more, boosting the score to 5-3. However, The Lady A’s did not let the close score get to them, they came back with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Animo scored three more runs in the top of the fifth inning, leaving the Lady A’s with one run ahead, 7-6. After noticing how close they were to a tie, the girls got out their defensive strategies and held the score to 6 runs for Animo. By the sixth inning, the Lady A’s scored nine more runs and had the lead with a score of 16-6. At that point, the game was called for what is called the 10-run rule, in which the victory was given to the Lady A’s for having 10 runs ahead near the 7th inning.

Mr. Dura is really proud of their performance in the game and of how the girls managed to prevent Animo from catching up, held them back, and took the lead both in the beginning and at the end. Mr. Dura said, “The girl with the big bat was DeAndria Lockett. She had 3 hits, 5 runs batted in, and then she had 16 strikeouts on defense when she was pitching. We also had a lot of girls contributing to the victory; so this was a team victory. All the girls did really well.” Mr. Dura knows that all their hard work and commitment to the team is paying off. The Lady A’s League games started on April 17 and they are confident that this year they’ll be able to upset the top teams in the league.

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