The Panthers’ baseball team won its first game of the season last week versus Hayden, 18 – 6. Like many other teams, the Panthers competed in the Joe S. Padilla Baseball Tournament last weekend.
The results weren’t as positive in other games for the Panthers. But playing in these tournaments is not as much about wins and losses as it is about gaining experience. For a team with a number of freshmen, the experience is more important.
“It’s helping us,” Panthers’ head coach Manuel Ortega said of playing in the Padilla Tournament. “We’re getting used to live play and seeing teams that are better than us, which will help us in the future.”
Ortega wants to see his team improve and believes they are talented enough to do just that.
“They’ll get more comfortable,” Ortega said after an 11 – 0 loss to Combs. “They’ll be ready (when the regular season starts).”
Some of the younger players on the team know there are high expectations on them and appear ready to meet the challenges of playing at the varsity level.
“I’m sure I speak for all the freshmen – people were telling us it’s a different game up here and it is,” freshman phenom Nicolaus Cruz said. “We just need to adapt quick. People are expecting a lot from us and I think we can pull it out.”
Varsity veterans like senior Ceasar Villalobos know their responsibilities include helping the younger players adjust to the speed of the game.
“We need to have them work hard at practice and get reps,” Villalobos said. “They’re adjusting well, so far.”
The Panthers upcoming schedule includes a home game versus Duncan on March 13 at 3:30 p.m.