There have been plenty of Moore League baseball seasons where half the schedule was skippable–this year is not one of those years. Thanks to excellent, dedicated coaching from Cabrillo’s Pedro Torres and Jordan’s Bryan Whitfield, the Jaguars and Panthers have been pushing the best teams in the Moore League this season.
Last week in a doubleheader at Blair Field, Cabrillo led Lakewood 2-1 after four innings, and Jordan went the distance with Poly before eventually losing.
“They’re a lot better, they’ve got some pitching and they can play, they don’t back down,” said Lakewood coach Spud O’Neil of the Jaguars. “Credit to them–our league is better for it with Cabrillo and Jordan playing the way they are this year. We’re all down in Division 2 or 3 and we all want to be back up in Division 1–and we all have to get better to make it happen.”
For Cabrillo coach Pedro Torres, this year is really about building the program. Only five members of his 15-man roster are seniors, and he started a pair of freshmen in the game against Lakewood. Ace pitcher Dylan Gambino, who beat Poly on the mound last year, is only a junior.
“We’re young, we’re trying to get them used to Blair Field,” said Torres. “Both games this year we’re up on Lakewood, now it’s about getting past that bad inning or two and playing a complete game. Just getting those jitters out–we’re not satisfied with just playing teams close.”
That said, the Jaguars have been playing teams close. In addition to the two games against Lakewood they only lost to Poly 1-0 earlier this year; their win over the Jackrabbits last year was the first in school history.
Meanwhile, Whitfield has had the Panthers on the path to improvement all year, and last week they were close with Poly all game before falling 3-0.
“It’s good for the Moore League to have more teams playing the right way and pushing each other,” said Poly coach Brent Lavoie. “Credit to their coaching over there, that’s the best game I’ve seen them play since I’ve been at Poly.”
Like Torres, Whitfield wasn’t happy with just playing a close game against the Jackrabbits.
“We’re playing better, we just have to hit,” said Whitfield. “I’m happy with how we played though, we got some guys off the team who didn’t really want to play and everyone here now is really committed. We’re getting everyone used to the Moore League at the largest level.”
The Panthers are as young as the Jaguars, with only three seniors on the roster. With Torres and Whitfield leading the way, the future looks bright for both programs.