Baseball, boys soccer struggle to keep teams afloat


Brandon Trujilo

Freshman Jordan Ly reflects on a previous pitch he threw. Jordan was throwing strikes left and right against Roosevelt. This was Jordan’s first year for Cleveland baseball, and with-in the first couple games he showed coach Hakim Finch he could play ball starting at second base and pitcher.

Mauricio Vasquez, Staff Reporter

At Cleveland, the school focuses on the student, not the athlete. In recent years, the soccer and baseball teams have struggled and that hasn’t changed. From back-to-back losing seasons to a revolving door of coaches, both are fighting to stay relevant at CHS.

The Eagles are not the worst at sports. Both girls and boys basketball teams have consistently made it to post-season action; the Lady Eagles are the 2018 Metro League Champions. Boys Ultimate Frisbee made it to nationals last year and tennis, volleyball and wrestling continue to improve from year to year. But it seems like baseball and boys soccer can’t seem to catch a break.

Junior Joshua Ruiz is a member of the soccer team. He believes a large number of students treat sports as a place to hang out with friends, but the problems on his team stem from lack of time put into practice among the members.

“I think just mainly communication and everyone showing up to practices cause some people have work, some people are sick … some people are hurt,” Ruiz said. “It’s just everybody not being at practice.”

Practice is a struggle with the soccer team with only eight boys showing up consistently. The team was forced to forfeit an early season match due to low practice turnout, but the team turned things around soon after.

The baseball team has its own issues with practice. The team won only a single game all season, and freshman Jordan Ly blames it on the lack of attention paid during practice.

“People were goofing around at practice and coach said, ‘If you don’t take practice seriously, in the games your flaws will show,’ so I think that happens,” Ly said.

Hakim Finch took over the baseball team after serving as assistant coach for the past few years. Recruiting was so low in the preseason, there was a fear that the team would not exist.

“It’s not very publicized here,” said Finch. “I did have 30 kids who signed up for baseball, but only 17 of them had paperwork and then 15 of them stuck it through, so the numbers are there enough for us to have at least one team.”

Another issue with the teams is the number of players who quit midway through the season. The loss of members forces position rearrangements so there is never a consistent synergy. And it’s not just the players who cause discourse on the team. Sometimes it is the lack of a connection with the coach that leads to struggles. The boys’ soccer coach left the team after the first game. Attendance Specialist Francisco Sanchez-Garcia quickly stepped in as head coach to help salvage the season.

Even teams with a consistent coach and good practice attendance still suffer from lack of support from the student body. Finch believes the change of how the morning announcements are handled makes it harder for students to remember games later in the week. While few students attend the games, but there is some support from parents.

“I just emailed one of the parents and thanked him for his support because he was there for every eight of the nine home games,” Finch said. “He was there encouraging the kids and encouraging me.”

Neither team has given up and both are looking forward to growing next year.

“Our record clearly shows that we could definitely use some improvement,” said Reed McFeely, a sophomore on the baseball team. “Every game, we treat it like a process. We don’t have great record, but … we’ll just continue to come out and do the best we can, and that’s the goal of the season right there.”