Off to a rather rough start, the Mark Keppel High baseball team has won five of its past six games, turning around the mood of the team.
And it can thank the play off seniors shortstop Nick Marquez, second baseman Ivan Berumen and first baseman Brandon Gomez for the change in attitude.
Marquez, a transfer from Arcadia High who’s batting .405, said he likes where the team is now.
“We’re looking really good,” Marquez said. “We’re pretty confident going into these next few games. We didn’t start out where we wanted to, but we worked our way up as a team. We’ve got everything together, so far.”
He added the team members have a lot of fun when they’re together, whether that’s on or off the field.
“We have a lot of laughs are there’s a lot of stuff we do, like mom’s spaghetti,” Marquez said. “We’re just like a family out here. It’s good being around each other.”
“We’ve been really focused lately,” said Gomez, who’s batting .323. “And we’ve been having a lot of fun on the field. Everything’s not serious. We’re all laughing and having fun and having a good time.”
Berumen said, however, it has taken time for the players to really get comfortable with one another.
“Our chemistry is pretty good,” said Berumen, who is a solid defensive second baseman. “It didn’t start off very good for us, but we’ve been learning to work together as a team. So, now we’re just connecting.”
All three players said they are looking to play baseball in college next year. And Gomez said the team had to start looking at situations of the glass being half full.
“We’ve learned to not emphasize on the negatives, but look at the positives,” Gomez said. “Looking at a game and taking away whatever happens in a game. Taking the positives and remembering that. And being better off from that.”
Marquez said he is glad he transferred to Keppel from Arcadia and has benefitted from the move.
“I like it,” he said. “The atmosphere is good. The stuff I learned in Arcadia I brought with me. And I just polished it and supplemented it with stuff from here.”
Berumen also said first-year coach Ryan Nunez has been a positive force on the team, which has struggled in recent years.
“He’s a pretty good coach,” Berumen said of Nunez. “He’s teaching us to work together. If you make an error or a strike out we just pick each other up.”
Nunez is a big reason for the attitude of the players, Gomez said.
“The atmosphere is very positive,” Gomez said. “We all pick each other up and we got each other’s backs.”