BRAWLEY — The Brawley Union High School baseball CIF champions met as a team one final time at Chabella’s Restaurant in Brawley, June 5, to eat and celebrate, as Head Coach Pedro Carranza congratulated the team and honored individual standout players. The night’s festivities were especially notable, as Brawley had never won a CIF baseball championship before this season, according to Carranza.
“It’s been an awesome ride,” Coach Carranza told the gathered crowd, which consisted of freshman, junior varsity, and varsity players, as well as coaches, parents, and supporters.
“Every year our goal has been to go all the way and win CIF,” Carranza said. “For 18 years we never have accomplished it until now. Why now? Because nobody [on the team] cares who gets the credit. They are a team. The seniors are the best as far as leadership. I have no doubt these seniors will be the future leaders and pillars of their communities.”
The CIF champs had their start by playing winter ball two times a week, but the group did not fully gel until the ball players on the wrestling and basketball teams finally joined the others out on the diamond, according to Carranza. The wrestlers and basketball players had themselves just won CIF in their respected sports.
Carranza said another winning trait of the team was not getting too high winning or too low when behind. They had a goal and kept their focus on achieving their personal best and being the best teammate.
“We never know when our season is going to end. We know we will go into the playoffs, so each practice for the upcoming bracket may be our last or we might have another practice if we move up. For the first time in 18 years, we knew when our last practice was, it was for the Championship Game. We had a little moment at our last practice,” Carranza said, voice breaking.
The coach kept emphasizing the team’s exceptional character as student-athletes, saying this group had been the most selfless team he had ever coached. Carranza credited the parents for raising athletes with high character and integrity.
“For a generation that is used to getting a trophy for everything from kindergarten on, these kids are extremely unselfish,” Carranza said. “The championship was an almost perfect game. We had a few miscues, but the better team won.”
As for the future, Carranza said the juniors looked very promising and they learned leadership skills from a great group of seniors. Besides, the coach added at the end, this is Brawley, and Brawley has a baseball culture where talent can vary, but the team is the sum of the whole.
The year end awards were as followed: Alex Hernandez – Mr. Wildcat, Dylan Reina – Silver Slugger, All IVL, Blake Zeleny – MVP, Pitcher of the Year IVL, 1st Team All CIF, All IVL, and Robert Brodell – MVP, IVL MVP, All IVL.