With high hopes and home runs, Conejo Valley Big League Baseball took the West Coast all the way to the World Series. Showing heart, passion and absolute enjoyment for the game, Conejo won their regionals, allowing them to represent the Western Region, which consisted of Oregon, California, Arizona, Hawaii, Washington and New Mexico. Getting a big “W” in the National Championship game propelled them to go all the way to the World Series against Puerto Rico.
This team consists of top ranking players in the Conejo Valley.
“The coaches put together a team and had us practice together for a couple of weeks,” senior pitcher Riley Jones said.
The practices were moderately relaxed consisting of playing ball. No extra conditioning or weight training was involved in getting this team to the World Series. It was more about gelling as a team and just playing the game while practicing technique and method.
A favorite moment is inevitable to accompany the capturing of a national title. Some of the players’ most exhilarating experiences took place against Puerto Rico.
“My favorite memory was hitting a home run in the National Championship Game. It was in the third inning and we were losing 2-0,” senior first basemen John Glenn said.
These moments are what molded the team to win with enthusiasm, hard work, and ardor.
Though the players spent most of their waking hours hanging out in the dugout or playing on the field, the team also had many fun and peculiar experiences after the games. From eating at 4 a.m., to playing video games with teams from all around the world, these players also created memories off the field. They were in a college environment resulting in junk food galore and endless nights.
Following play, the team would get Jimmy Johns, a sandwich shop, delivered to their dorms at 3:30 a.m.
“Anything we could find we would eat,” junior catcher Ben Martz said.
This included snacks such as granola bars, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and continual scoops of ice cream.
“One of the funniest moments was when a player from the team took a flaming marshmallow and put it in his mouth,” Martz said. “It was weird, but hilarious.”
Though the players from opposing teams are not rooting for one another on the field, lifetime friendships and relationships are made off the field. Their floor at the dorms consisted of teams from all over the world, such as Texas, Netherlands and Mexico. They created a bond with these other players, and night after night Conejo would hang out and interact with rival teams.
Major events are commonly known to carry a superstition or a ritual, especially in sports. In this case, these players had their own special custom prior to each game.
“The whole team kisses the baseball before the game,” Glenn said.
All these things tie the team together as one in the hopes of winning the big game.
Directly after the game the team took part in juvenile fun and listening to classic hit songs. After winning the National Championship, the boys hit the bus to smother themselves in timeless tunes such as “Sweet Caroline” and “Drops of Jupiter.” These songs fueled their celebration and fulfillment of the team’s lofty goal. As they walked in their dorms they blasted the song “I Rep that West” by Ice Cube, to demonstrate that the West coast had won the National Championship.
Conejo Valley Big League Baseball represents passion and drive for the game. It consists of players that play as members of a unified team and for the love of the game.