Baseball became the fifth Gregory School sport to be cut this year. Girls golf and girls basketball were both absorbed into the boys teams while girls softball was cancelled completely. Girls soccer began their season with more than enough for a team, but after a plague of injuries and lack of dedication, they were forced to drop the remainder of the season.
Thirteen players went out for practice the first week, but after early quits from junior David Castillo, sophomore Daniel Jacobs and freshman James Bauman, they were left with only ten people to fill a nine person roster.
The team struggled through the beginning of the season going 0-7. Although their record is not impressive, they finished with by far the highest average opponent rating in the state. Two of those losses came to the #1 seed and likely state champion, Desert Christian.
As the season progressed, it was hard to get nine players to attend games on a weekly basis. Some games were postponed due to a lack of players. Senior Andrew Tinley joined the team occasionally, so that they did not have to cancel.
In mid-April, freshman Alan Siqueiros broke his wrist which prevented him from playing for the rest of the season. Also, senior Paul Ray had to quit the team for personal reasons. Senior captain Raymond Roesler did not quit the team but was unavailable for the team’s remaining eight games due to conflicts with club soccer and the tennis state tournament.
The ten man roster quickly shrank to seven, and the team was forced to cancel the remainder of their schedule in a very similar fashion as girls soccer. Senior captain Danny Benson blamed the cancellation on lack of dedication both on and off the field: “It’s hard to be a successful team when kids are ditching practice. We almost never had the whole team at practice, and even when we did, there would be kids who were lazy and wouldn’t try,” said Benson.
The number of sport cancellations this year is startling. Benson blames this on a change in dynamic of the school. Benson said, “Maybe it’s not cool to play sports anymore, so that’s why so many kids are sitting out.”
Even though the team did not have success, the players still enjoyed the social aspect of the season. Paul Ray said, “I would say the highlight was getting to know the freshmen who joined the team.”
Another positive that came out of baseball’s cancellation was that it allowed for some of the players to compete for other sports. Roesler played for both the baseball team and the tennis team this year. He also participated in the individual state tennis tournament in Glendale.
Freshman Kai Morfin joined the track team directly following the end of the baseball season. Morfin competed in the sectional meet on April 28. He was one of only six boys at the sectional meet, so his presence helped the team place 5th.
Benson and sophomore Ben Deitch recently joined the golf team where Benson is already one of the top golfers. They may compete in the state tournament which starts on May 15 in Prescott.
Coach Billy Hayes is optimistic for next year’s season in spite of this year’s results. “Despite what our record demonstrates, the guys learned a lot, improved and developed valuable life skills in handling difficult situations and dealing with adversity,” said Hayes.
Moving forward, baseball could face some difficulty in fielding a team next year. Three of the ten solid players this year were seniors, but the rest were freshmen and sophomores. Benson feels like there are enough good athletes in the school to have a good team, but the difficulty lies in getting them to actually commit to the team.
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