The Talon

Between the Lines: Week 1

Chad Cushing, Staff Writer

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Bases loaded, two outs, and the go-ahead run at the plate. We were so close to the win, which I wouldn’t of ever guessed because just 72 hours ago we walked off the field 17 runs in defeat.

This year’s Del Norte JV Baseball team is nothing like it has been before. We all come from different personalities, skill levels, and age.

Our roster is made up of five freshman, five sophomores, and four juniors. Putting together a competitive baseball team is tough enough, but putting a team together full of a bunch of different types of people is even tougher.

I am Chad Cushing, and I play catcher on Del Norte’s JV Baseball team. Each week of our season, I’d like to take you, the reader, on a journey of what it’s like to be a high school baseball player. Let’s get back to the story.

On Wednesday, February 28th, my team and I played in our first scrimmage, against Mission Hills. I wouldn’t like to give a full rundown of what happened, but it was ugly.

The final score was 17-0, with Del Norte being on the wrong side of that. We had seven errors and eight hit batters, it was nothing short of a disaster.

One of our assistant coaches, Coach Tellers, told us after the game to move on and not repeat the same mistakes in the next game. That’s the great thing about baseball, is that there is always a game the next day! There is no time to mourn over defeat, only time to get ready for the next game.

Sadly, Thursday didn’t start off any better. The bus scheduled to drive us to Escondido High School was 35 minutes late. If you know me, I don’t like being late at all. It gives me anxiety and makes me nervous.

Talk about a worse case scenario; being 35 minutes late to my next game after losing by 17 the day before. Anyways, we arrived at Escondido with no extra time to spare, and we all rushed off the bus to get ready for the game.

Escondido is quite different from Del Norte. Beyond the center field fence was a goat farm. Yes, a goat farm. A real goat farm. Center field smelled like a pasture in Kansas, not a baseball field in San Diego.

We started the game off strong, scoring two runs in the first inning. I reached on a hit by pitch and ran all the way home after many hits from the middle of our order. Our starting pitcher, freshman Tyler Gibbons, pitched amazing.

His “stuff”, as baseball fans call it (describing the pitcher’s pitches) was the best I’ve seen it in a long time. His fastball was commanding, and his curve ball and change up offered a great change of pace that kept the batter on his toes.

Our team played great, and we hit Escondido’s sub par pitching like there was no tomorrow. The final score was 15-4, Del Norte coming out on top.

After the second scrimmage, we felt way more confident and optimistic for Saturday’s season opener. On Saturday we were scheduled to play Mission Vista at home. While we were all sleeping Friday night, it rained like crazy.

We woke up to a field covered in water. Emergency measures were taken, and our whole team helped clean the field and prepare it for the game. 10 bags of Quick-dry later and the field was ready, it was time for baseball.

Despite a rough start, where our team surrendered two errors on the first two pitches of the game, we bounced back strong after freshman, Justin Quan, made an unassisted double play to end the first inning. Justin’s play gave the team momentum and the rest of the game was smooth sailing from there. However, in baseball, things can change in an instant.

Bases loaded, two outs, and the go-ahead run at the plate. Tyler was in a pickle; he had walked the first two batters and now the bases were loaded. Mission Vista’s number four hitter was up to the plate. I called fastballs early in the count because as a catcher, I noticed that the batter’s hands dropped before he swung, so he wouldn’t be able to catch up to the fastball. Sure enough, Tyler got ahead in the count 1-2.

The 1-2 pitch was a curve ball in the dirt that the batter just barely managed to catch a piece of, foul ball. I felt the batter wouldn’t be ready for the high fastball because we changed his eye level with the curveball. Tyler made a big-time pitch. The batter swung and missed, game over.

This week, I learned how great the game of baseball is, and how it offers  the possibility for team’s to bounce back right after defeat. After that 17-0 loss, we came back and outscored our opponents in our next two games 20-6. That’s baseball for you everyone.

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Between the Lines: Week 1