Slowly Getting There
March 30, 2017
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.
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.