By Carlos Alvarez
After 32 consecutive road games this season, the baseball team finally played at home on the newly renovated Husky Park, defeating Los Angeles Harbor College 6-4 last Saturday.
Head Coach James Hines said,”The baseball field is not fully completed but is in good playing condition. The field is now labeled as significantly completed. We are glad to have a field to call home.
“It’s hard to play a home game when most of the crowd is cheering for your opponent.”
“What was to be a one-year project turned to five years of construction, with many missed deadlines and miscommunication with administration.
“There was a need for parking, but we found out we were losing our field from a gardener,” Hines said.
Hines and Athletic Director Al Cone approached former ELAC President Ernest Moreno, who confirmed that the field was going to be used for parking space.
With the increase of students and the construction of two parking structures, the necessity for parking space became a priority for administration.
“People from the facilities department and other administration did not communicate with us,” Hines said.
Hines said he knew of the situation the school faced, he was surprised because he was not notified about it.
The lack of a baseball field and facility along with the uncertainty of where the team would practice and play their home games had a major effect on the recruitment of players. This was a challenge for Hines and his staff.
“We were put in a bad situation, but we did not dwell or whine. We made the best out of it,” Hines said.
Hines and his staff faced the challenge of recruiting players without a baseball facility while opposing coaches used that as a recruiting tool.
“We lost some good players to other teams because of our situation with the field,” Hines said.
Though recruitment was a challenge, the players who became members of the baseball program saw a positive effect.
“I had faith in coach Hines. I knew (that by) coming here and learning from him, I would be successful with or without a field,” starting pitcher Elias Novelo said.
“We recruited players who were mature beyond their years,” Hines said.
The No. 14-ranked Huskies (SoCal poll), who are riding a five-game win streak, are on the verge of advancing to the playoffs for the third time in the five years.
“Coach Hines and his staff have been great throughout this long process. They have been able to recruit and put a winning team out on the field each year,” Cone said.
With the Huskies playoff fate in limbo, the completion of the field was perfect timing for a playoff push.