APTOS— The Cabrillo College baseball team began its season under a new era of coaching that prioritizes individual development for the betterment of the team.
Seahawks manager Scott Masik strongly believes in the team motto: One percent better, every day.
The first-year skipper made this his mission since taking over for longtime manager Bob Kittle, who did not return this season.
Masik—a former Seahawks baseball player who eventually signed with the Oakland Athletics before playing for the Vermont Lake Monsters—also makes his return to his alma mater. He played for Cabrillo from 2010-2011.
“Coming back here is an awesome opportunity because I’ve played on this field and I know what it means to be a Cabrillo Seahawk,” Masik said.
As somebody who has been in the players’ shoes, Masik has the insight on what it takes to build his team into a winning ball club.
The Seahawks’ season got off to a rough start, as they won just three of their first nine games including a 21-5 loss at the hands of San Joaquin Delta College.
For many within the program, a slow start was something to be expected.
Twenty-five of the 40 Seahawks are freshmen who are still adjusting to the vigor of college baseball.
“We’re a young coaching staff, we have a relatively young team,” Masik said. “We are trying to figure out how to win baseball games.”
Cabrillo’s roster has 13 players from local high schools in Monterey Bay but the rest are new to the area and traveling from as far as Hawaii.
It’s a testament to the extensive recruiting process exhibited by all major Cabrillo sports such as the basketball program—who only has one local player.
The Seahawks’ season is just ramping up, yet it’s already clear that they have substantial talent on their roster and pieces to work with.
Masik explained how catcher Kawana Soares and pitcher Ian Sullivan—both sophomores with scholarships for next season—are team leaders and help them win.
Cabrillo’s start to the season has been inconsistent at best, losing its first four games before winning three consecutive, and again losing two straight.
Despite owning a losing record, the Seahawks are confident that they will figure things out as the season progresses.
However, they can take away some positives from the beginning of the year, including a dominant 10-3 victory against Laney College in the midst of their winning streak.
“We know that coming into the season it was going to be a tough stretch,” Soares said. “Going down 0-4 was definitely tough on the boys, but it was a good learning curve.”
Last season, Cabrillo finished a mediocre 19-21 overall and 11-9 in Coast Conference South Division play.
Throughout the offseason, the Seahawks worked tirelessly in the weight room to ensure each player is physically prepared for the intensity of the 40-game season.
“Every day is not going to be the best day of your life,” Masik said. “Baseball is a game of failure and adversity. We have a team who tries to take one step in the right direction every day.”
Cabrillo has clearly taken to its motto of getting 1% better every day.
To develop their team chemistry, the Seahawks have bonded through various other sports such as cheering for their Cabrillo peers at football and basketball games.
Following their losing streak to start the season, it was clear they needed to adjust playing in those first four games.
“Our bats in the beginning everyone was anxious, everyone was trying to swing the bat hard,” Soares said. “That was what kind of killed us, we didn’t have a lot of hits in our first couple of games.”
The adjustments paid off and Cabrillo went on their win streak.
While the Seahawks seemed to have started hitting their stride before their two losses to San Joaquin Delta (10-0), there is still more than enough time to figure things out.
Cabrillo (4-6) bounced back with an 8-7 win in extra innings over Diablo Valley College on Feb. 18.
There will be no letup in their schedule as the Seahawks’ next matchup has them hosting Los Medanos (6-4) on Tuesday at 2pm.
“We’re taking this one game at a time,” Masik said. “If we do that as a team the record will hopefully be in our favor at the end of the season.”