Baseball team looks to make championship run for first time in school history


Wearing their brand new all gray jerseys, the baseball team poses for a picture just hours before their home opener.

The Wildcats are looking to make a big run this season on the baseball diamond. Between the extra hours put in after practice to the team bonding activities outside of school, the team has set their collected mind to one goal: a state championship. 

As good as you have to perform to be able to win a state championship, the non-physical side of it is just as important. The chemistry that this team has with one another due to the off-field activities is through the roof. 

When there was a basketball game after their practice, they would pack the stands and make their own student section that was louder than anybody else in the gym. Whether it was J.V., girls varsity, or boys varsity, they would scurry straight from the dugout to the stands and cheer on their fellow Wildcats.  

“The atmosphere that we would create was crazy,” junior pitcher Jake Butters said.

He said that they would try and keep the energy high throughout the entire game no matter what the score was.

“We love to support our other sports teams, but it’s also just another opportunity to hang out with the guys and have fun,” Butters said. 

With a successful fall season and spring pre-season, the Cats have been awaiting this season like never before. Head coach Onel Garcia has been in the position for six years now and has built this program from the bottom up. Last season, he led the Wildcats to their best record in school history. Additionally, with returning players and leadership throughout the dugout, the entire organization is ready to take it to the next level.

“This team can be very special,” Garcia said.

He showed extreme enthusiasm with his booming voice and ecstatic smile while talking about his team and their accomplishments before the season.

“We showed that we can win games when it counts by winning the fall season championship with our J.V. and varsity, so hopefully that will transfer over to the regular season,” Garcia said.

A key player on this Wildcats team that can lead them to their aspired destination is senior shortstop Leo Perez.  

“I’m really excited to see what this team can do,” Perez said. 

Perez has started off the season in a grand fashion, already racking up two home runs in the team’s first two games. 

“I think we can make a run all the way (to states) this year. This team has a lot of potential but we just need to keep working,” Perez added.

Perez isn’t the only talented on this team. Fellow senior and University of Miami baseball commit Kristian Noriega is a star catcher and one of the best hitters in all of Broward County. 

“We haven’t been able to win a championship ever since I’ve been here, but I’ve been working very hard to win one my last year,” Noriega said.

Nicknamed “Kiki,” the Wildcats standout has been a part of the program since his sophomore year. He has had a tremendous career under Garcia and has continued to excel early in his senior season. 

The Wildcats have looked strong to kick off the season and have jumped out to a 5-2 record. Across the board, the Wildcats have been doing what they need to do to win games. Between pitching and hitting, the team has performed at a high level so far this season, and they aren’t planning on stopping. The energy that runs through the dugout, from the coaches to the players, is contagious during their games. When the Wildcats are up to bat, from first pitch to last, the players are chirping up a storm, hyping up whoever is up to bat. Based on the positive results, the atmosphere that they create is definitely helping the players. 

“Even though it is loud, it motivates me and makes me want to be great for my teammates,” Perez stated. 

When asked to describe the feeling of it all with one word, he replied with “electric.”

“There’s nothing else like it, it’s almost like a wave of energy that overtakes you and you have no other choice than to ride it,” Perez said.

As a team, the Wildcats have been riding their wave and playing better than ever before. No matter who they face, they are bringing the energy and bringing the fight. That electricity and fierceness have converted into tallies in the win column and confidence going forward. Although the Wildcats have only just scratched the surface this season, they can see themselves hoisting the trophy at the end of it all.

“As much as we want to accomplish this season, there’s only one thing that matters at the end of the day: that state championship,” Garcia said.