Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 19
Southside Little League All-Stars
By Brian Wright
The Southside Little League All-Star team has truly stepped up to the plate this season with dominant performances and rapid individual player growth. The 13 All-Stars—elite selections from their league pool of 12-year-olds—have been playing together since before they were 5 years old.
This season they’ve developed their skills further and proven their worth with a plethora of impressive victories. In their last five games alone, they’ve had 61 hits, allowed just eight hits, and scored 69 runs while allowing only seven.
“I can put a lot of guys in different positions, and they can play pretty much anywhere I put them,” coach Eddie Garcia said about the versatility of his players.
In addition to the All-Star of the All-Stars—Jayden Lyburtus, who, as of this writing, was headed to a Pitch, Hit, and Run competition in New York—Garcia praised his other players for their work ethic and rapid improvement over the course of the season.
Mentioning catcher Austin Peinado, he said, “He’s just hitting the ball a lot better this year, and has become our go-to guy for the catcher position.”
Peinado pointed out that his favorite aspect of baseball is making spectacular diving catches and hitting home runs.
Garcia also commented on Christopher Cervantes, another standout player: “He’s swinging the bat a lot better this year and has started to grow out of his old habits. We just have to remind him if he’s doing something incorrectly, and he is good at fixing the problem.”
Cervantes himself said, “It’s really fun hanging out with my friends on the team, on and off the field.”
When asked about their future aspirations as players, Garcia quipped, “Well, they all want to be major league stars. But I just tell them to work hard now and keep playing and having fun and the rewards will come.
Garcia admitted that “there will always be teams you come across that are just better than you,” but he feels confident the team has a good shot at advancing well into the tournament.
“The thing about this team is that they’re all just really great kids,” he said. “They’ve been playing with each other for a long time and have a lot of fun together.”
The All-Stars beat Moorpark 12-3 and Goleta 18-16 at the sectionals tournament July 13 and 14.