When the Vaqueros baseball season came to an end on April 25, 16 sophomores stepped onto Stengel Field for the last time as Glendale College players.
Sophomore catcher Cam Silva said, “We had guys from all sorts of different situations and backgrounds, but when we stepped on that field we were brothers.”
Most of the 16 men played for GCC during the last two seasons. They have learned not only to understand each other, but also to trust and rely on one another.
“One of the main things I am going to miss about the Vaqs is my family,” said departing pitcher Angel Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was going through a difficult time in his life when he came to Glendale to play baseball after leaving CSUN, where he plans to return next year.
“The Vaqueros took me in as if I have always been part of the program,” said Rodriguez.
The sophomores have learned what it is to have a family that is not blood-related and to have coaches who truly care for their well being.
“I learned from Angel this year that, no matter how bad you want it, you can’t change individuals unless they believe in the same philosophies,” Head Coach Chris Cicuto said.
In the 2014 season alone, Glendale played 38 games. Considering most of these players were a part of the team for the past two seasons, the number of hours spent on the field is incalculable between practices, games, and winning the conference championship in 2013.
“These guys were my best friends and we were a special group on and off the field,” Sheeley said. “I am going to miss that.”
Through their years at Glendale, the coaches have taught them what it means to be a baseball player, but helped even more to mold them into the people they are off the field as well.
“One thing I will carry on from what I have learned this year is how important it is to be true to yourself,” Silva said. “To be the best you can be on and off the field with no exceptions.”
Catcher Mark Strazzeri said, “I have learned that you always have to keep improving yourself, on and off the field in order to be successful.” Strazzi is
also leaving the team.
“I have learned that it is not important how you fall, but how you get back up,” Rodriguez said. “People are not going to know me as a failure. They are going to recognize me as someone that fought through all adversity and continued on pursuing my dreams.”
Although the season is over, most of the departing sophomores plan on continuing their last years of college playing baseball. As a student-athlete, transferring to a Cal State or a University is not just about which school is best for your major, but where they can fulfill the dream of going professional — something most have been reaching for since the little leagues.
“Baseball is unique,” said Sheeley. “It is not as much about what kind of athlete you are, at this point everyone has talent, but who you are as a person.”
Just like life, baseball has ups and downs as well as good days and bad days. In the 2013 season, the Vaqueros won the conference championship for the third year in a row — a championship that most of the sophomores were a part of, but this year was not like last season. They learned not to give up their dream — regardless of the scoreboard.
“I will miss all the sophomores in some way,” said Cicuto. “They have all made me a better coach and teacher in some aspect.”
Even though 2014 season is completed, next season is on the mind of the coaches and remaining players.
“I’m truly excited about the freshmen coming back — it’s their time.” said Cicuto, “I think they share and depict the same core values that had been
the backbone to our success in years past.”