Baseball season ends with a bang

Junior Derek Vasquez, who has been playing baseball for 12 years, considers the sport an important part of his life thanks to his family’s shared passion for the sport. 

“I’ve known baseball for my entire life,” said Vasquez, who is a pitcher on the Birmingham Community Charter High School (BCCHS) varsity team. “As I’ve grown up, it’s been my thing. My family has been playing so it’s a big thing for me.”

The Patriots won 3-1 against Carson High School in the CIF Open Final at Dodgers Stadium on May 27. However, Vasquez did not join the team at that game.

Before he began playing baseball, Vasquez would go to the gym frequently. But since he became a part of the team, he doesn’t have as much downtime.

“Practicing games takes a lot of time,” Vasquez said. “It messes with my schedule after school. I used to go to the gym frequently but now because of practice, I can’t really go that much.” 

Vasquez isn’t the only Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) student on the BCCHS baseball teams. Sophomore Zion Waddell, who is on the junior varsity (JV) team, is also a long-time baseball fan and player.

“I’ve always loved baseball,” said Waddell, who played second base on the JV team for his second straight year. “I saw a game on TV and I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to join.’”

Waddell hopes to follow in the footsteps of baseball players he admires, including Jackie Robinson from his favorite Major League Baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers. Watching professional baseball games on his television, Waddell has made a variety of baseball memories through the years. Nevertheless, his favorite moment was playing at his first baseball game because the memory serves as a milestone of how much he’s improved and the countless ways he can still refine his skills.

“I think my favorite memory was when I was 15,” Waddell said. “It was my first game. It kind of reminds me how I started playing compared to now.”

Despite the low or impossible chances of making it in an overflowing competitive industry, Waddell sees the possibility of turning a hobby into a profession. 

 “I could definitely see myself pursuing this sport as a career because I love it,” Waddell said. “The competitiveness of baseball pushes me to do my best so I can help my team win.”