By Cody Schott
“It ainât over till itâs over.”
Uttered by one of baseballâs legendary players, Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, the phrase has reverberated through generations. The Wolverine baseball team is living proof; the team plays and practices all year long, never stopping and never quitting.
The Wolverines take part in winter and summer leagues, as well as playing the official spring season.
The winter and the summer leagues consist of exhibition games against opponents from Camarillo to Santa Clarita. The games are played on Saturdays, and the team practices throughout the week. Even though these games donât count, Head Coach Matt LaCour thinks that playing year-round is crucial to the teamâs competitiveness during the spring season.
“Not training and playing winter league is not an option in southern California if you want to compete,” LaCour said.
The coach also compared baseball to other sports that compete all year.
“Volleyball players play club volleyball in their off-season,” he said. “Basketball players are on traveling teams in the off-season. Winter league is our Spring Training. We get two weeks of practice and one scrimmage before our regular season.”
According to Hunter Spinks â09, CIF has abolished rules preventing high school teams from practicing together in the offseason like club teams do.
LaCour said he uses the extra games to play around with his lineup and defensive scenarios, but he also said itâs a time for the players to improve. According to LaCour, winter season has helped some players improve, like Oliver Lowry â10 and Joe Cadiff â10, who are adjusting from football, and other players just garnering game experience, like Spinks.
“Winter League gives you a chance to get experience,” he said. “We get to work on every little bit of our game in game situations.”
Spinks acknowledges that playing throughout the year is fatiguing, but is also very rewarding when the spring season rolls along.
“It does test your mental and physical abilities,” he said. “In the end it makes you a better baseball player; it makes you mentally tough. It helps you give the extra push when the game is on the line in the later innings.”
Southern California and high school baseball have a working agreement; the coastal-desert climate provides the atmosphere for Americaâs pastime to roll year long.
“We are located in an area of the country where baseball is played all year long. We are lucky,” LaCour said.