Victoria West pitcher Bryeton Canchola throws a pitch against Gregory-Portland at Riverside Stadium. Victoria West went on to lose 7-0.
As of Friday, April 18, 2014
Senior Bryeton Canchola nearly quit playing baseball after his junior season.
But the pitcher for Victoria West decided to stick it out with the Warriors for his last year. And he's glad that he did.
After Thursday's game against Gregory-Portland (6-5 in district) in which West lost 7-0, the Warriors ran out of chances to make it to the postseason.
But even though West (5-7 in district) missed the playoffs, the 2013-14 team will still go down in the record books.
For the first time in West's history, the Warriors defeated No. 2 Calallen, with a 6-5 win April 11.
Canchola was speechless after that win.
"We were happy and celebrating," he said. "There were no down moments on the bus on the way home; we hung out as a team afterward to celebrate."
In Canchola's four years as a Warrior, defeating Calallen will be an unforgettable memory.
"I gave up at one point, but I talked to my coaches and knew that deep down, I couldn't give up on my team," said Canchola, who struck out four Gregory-Portland batters Thursday night. "My coaches kept me in the right mindset; (the team is) my family."
Coach Manuel Alvarado was hoping for a better outcome for West's final game of the season.
"I'm glad all the seniors finished their last stint at Riverside," Alvarado said. "This is the first class to graduate from West; I've seen them mature from boys as freshmen to young men - I know they're all going to succeed in life in whatever they do."
Alvarado learned a great deal from West's journey this season.
"We have to focus on hitting the ball, especially when we have runners in scoring position," Alvarado said.
Not capitalizing on base hits held West back Thursday night against the Wildcats with five runners left on base.
Alvarado said that about 15 runners were left on base in the Warriors' first loss to Gregory-Portland in March.
But with a majority of the infield and all of the outfielders returning next season, the coach foresees a powerful follow-up next year.
"All of our outfield has speed, and they're all coming back," he said. "That's not something we have to worry about too much - they catch the ball about 90 percent of the time."
Junior Shane Kallman helped keep the Wildcats at bay during the middle innings with three smooth center-field catches.
"Shane is a great outfielder," Alvarado said. "He has the speed and a great arm."
Though comfortable with catching fly balls, Kallman plans to work on hitting in the offseason.
"We have to have more intensity and not take anything lightly," Kallman said. "Playing with reason and not coming out here without full effort ... and hitting the ball."
With a bye next week, Thursday was West's final game until next year.
Kallman, along with the other juniors, plan to live up to their potential next year.
"If we compete at the level we know we can, we can make the playoffs," Kallman said.