Delano’s Robert F. Kennedy High School baseball team has won the title of not only league champions but also valley champions, making this year Kennedy’s greatest season of baseball thus far in the school’s history.
RFK varsity baseball coach Jacob Fragoso has been coaching for nine years and said it was such a great feeling to be at the top of their division after so many years..
“It’s a great accomplishment not only for myself but mainly for our team that all their hard work and dedication paid off,” said Fragoso. “We approached each game the same from when we started the season to now. We always focused on the upcoming game and never overlooked any opponent.”
Fragoso often tells his players to give each game their all, “because tomorrow is never promised.”
Alan Montano, first and third baseman, said the fans, his family members, and his grandpa is what motivates him to give it his all. His grandpa loves to play baseball. Because he grandfather lives in Mexico, Montano will call or FaceTime his grandpa to hear his words of encouragement.
Montano is one of the players that not only has school and baseball practice, but also works in the fields. Because of his hard work and dedication, winning the title of valley champions means is something a little different for him.
“It’s very exhausting sometimes because you have to wake up super early and sometimes it’s very hot and then you have to go back home and do your homework,” said Montano. “So it feels amazing because my friends and I all have put in such hard work in practice.”
He continued: “Just playing the valley game and winning, it takes a lot off your chest and all the hard work we put in pays off.”
Juliana Orozco, pitcher and outfielder, threw a seven-inning shutout during a championship game against Fresno Christian. Orozco earned the Kennedy Thunderbirds a victory ending the game with a score 19-0.
Orozco is only a sophomore and proved he has the skill to pitch for the next two years in high school. He threw 15 strikeouts while only allowing a single hit during the most important game of the season.
Orozco said throwing a seven-inning shutout was a very amazing feeling for him especially since he had never done it and to do it in a championship game felt even better.
“It feels amazing knowing that we are valley champs. Winning it as a sophomore is awesome because I know I have two more years to win another one,” said Orozco. “We just have to work hard as a team so we can get more championships.”
Orozco is motivated by his teammates to always go out there and do his best. The goals he sets for himself are to be better than yesterday and always work hard to get better. His goals for the future is to get into a good college and play baseball.
Francisco Ruiz, catcher and senior at RFK, said winning the valley championship his last year in high school meant a lot to him because it’s something he always wanted to do.
“It’s a big blessing for me. I’ve been praying and working for this and having it complete it was just a bunch of emotions — happy emotions obviously,” Ruiz said. “I got emotional because it means a lot. You work so hard and you get the results you want and this is something I’ll forever remember in my life.”
Along with being a valley champion, Ruiz also was selected to play in the All Star baseball game. He said when he got the news, he was very grateful and happy to know he would play one last game with some of the best baseball players in the area.
Ruiz will be going to Chicago, Illinois to continue his education and continue playing baseball.
This is a great accomplishment for the Kennedy Thunderbirds and one that made school history. The Thunderbirds are now looking forward to doing the same next year as many of the promising student athletes will be there next season.