EL CENTRO — Southwest High School’s 2022 baseball program not only ran the conference table for the third time in a row but also produced a handful of players and coach that were recognized with All-IVL honors.
“This was our third year in a row winning IVL,” said SHS head baseball coach Matthew Redden.
After losing a major chunk of personnel to graduation last year, many counted the Eagles out of league contention coming in this year.
“Many thought we were going to fall off after last year when we were senior heavy,“ said Redden. “But the guys worked hard all off-season to get ready for the year. And with that a couple guys really showed out and made first team All-IVL.”
Carlos Tafoya was voted league MVP. Oscar Medina batted near .600 during league play. Freshman sensation, Chance Bermudez made All-IVL honors as a pitcher.
The Eagles also clawed up four additional All-IVL second team selections in Donnovan Navarrete, Fernando Soria, Kenneth Urquidez, and Angel Sanchez.
Matthew Redden was selected as All-IVL coach of the year for the second year in a row.
“I would never say that anyone is an underdog in our league because we’re just so tough on each other,” said Redden. “In IVL, you never know who’s going to win because we just beat each other up and compete against each other so hard.”
The Eagles conceded only one loss in all of the IVL action.
“Only losing one game in IVL this year was rewarding,” said Redden. “It was cool to see, as a coaching staff, all the players' hard work pay off.”
Redden credited his players this year’s success in the diamond.
“It’s all on the players,” said Redden. “We just asked them to, and they show up and work. It’s rewarding for us to see our players get rewarded by winning league and making firs-team and second-team all league.”
Redden expressed his gratitude for the All-IVL coach of the year nomination and selection.
“Being coach of the year is an honor because we get voted on by the other coaches,” said Redden. “For me, it’s more rewarding to see my players be successful. I do this because I love seeing my guys be successful.”
The Southwest Eagles even won an IVL game versus Holtville at Petco Park in San Diego during the regular season.
“I’m a die-hard Padre fan, so to play there to me, it’s something special,” said Redden. “I was like a fan out there feeling the grass and having my players take a knee so they could also feel the grass and look around the stadium. It was an awesome experience for the kids and us coaches as well. We got to stand in those dug-outs where all the big-leaguers stand in. As a baseball fan, there’s nothing better.”
Redden addressed the program's near-future.
“We just want to stress to the team that we won league but we didn’t win CIF,” said Redden. “So we still have a lot of work to do. We got over 30 guys already showing up for summer workouts.”
SHS Athletics highlighted the effectiveness of summer workouts.
“When you put in the time, the game is going to reward you,” said Redden. “When you do all the intangibles, are a good person, get good grades, work hard, and be respectful - those things come back around and it’s all relational because the game is going to give you back what you put into it. Our guys have bought in that we need to show up and work hard. Especially within our own team because if your not showing up, our competition is going to beat you out. So then, if we’re competing at our highest everyday, that means we are going to be able to compete at our highest when we step on the field against anybody else because we’re already competing against ourselves everyday.”