PV Baseball Under New Management
• Palos Verdes High brings a familiar face to heads baseball program.
With the new school year comes new students, new teachers and, at Palos Verdes High School, a new head baseball coach.
Alex Morales, in addition to taking over the Sea Kings baseball program, will teach Spanish and head AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) this year.
Morales played baseball at North High School in Torrance and at Los Angeles Harbor College. He played all positions, but remained a pitcher throughout his college years at Culver-Stocken College, a small school in Missouri.
“I have been fortunate to be around a lot of great and knowledgeable coaches, so many of them are the reasons I coach now,” said Morales. “Their encouragement, support, life lessons and understanding of the game have all inspired me to become a coach.”
After college, he started as a pitching coach at his alma mater in Torrance, later becoming head coach and leading North to league titles in 2003 and 2004.
He left North to become an assistant coach at Southwestern Oregon Community College, where he stayed for three seasons.
While in Oregon, Morales was an assistant and later the head coach of a group that started an American Legion program in Florence, Ore. It was a new program but proved to be successful after the team finished third in the state by their third season.
His journey did not stop there as he returned to California and began working with the Palos Verdes High School baseball team alongside head coach Evan Fujinaga.
He was hired as a Spanish teacher at PV and spent the following six seasons with the team as the head JV coach and eventually the assistant varsity coach.
In 2016, Peninsula High School baseball coach Brian Bowles asked him to help out on his team.
“I know it was an awkward situation, especially from the outside, to have a PV teacher coaching at Peninsula,” said Morales. “However, everyone was super supportive.”
“It was not an easy decision to leave Peninsula as the last two years there were a lot of fun, very memorable, despite the unfortunate events of this past season,” said Morales. “But when the PV opportunity came about, it just made too much sense and here we are.”
For the upcoming season, the team expects to have about 10 seniors returning with varsity experience and around 20 total seniors who will return to play their final season in high school. Students will go through the standard tryout routine and be placed on a team, but in a standard offseason, unforeseen factors, such as injuries and transfers, also play a part in determining the roster of the team.
New seniors Noah Delio and Al Walsh are both returning players with varsity experience. Infielder Delio has been playing since he was four years old and has participated in many different Little Leagues and club teams.
“My favorite part about being on the high school team is I get to play baseball with my best friends, and it cannot get any better than that,” Delio said.
Walsh, a pitcher, has been playing since the same age as Delio. He is preparing for the new season by working on getting stronger and adjusting the things he needs to improve at his position.
“I love baseball because it is not an individual sport,” Walsh said. “Everyone contributes in their own way. We become a family and when the chemistry is there, it is hard to stop us.”
For some players, Morales is the third head coach to come onto the team in their high school baseball career.
“With three new head coaches over the course of four years, I never let it affect how I play the game,” Walsh said. “I cannot let that get in my head because I am the only one who can control how I play. All the coaches I have had in the past have had my back and helped me get better in whatever way possible.”
Practices under the coaching of Morales will be different from previous coaches because every coach has his own way of teaching but, in the end, all that matters is the nature of the game, Walsh said.
“With my coach from last year, practices were usually individual time, [with] infielders taking ground balls and outfielders catching fly balls,” Delio said. “We would then practice base running and end practices with bunting. I am not sure how practices will be with Coach Morales, but I am very excited to be playing for such a great person and coach.”
The new season comes with a fresh start as Morales looks for coaches who could potentially fill the spots of last year’s staff. He also wishes to have some teachers who could also coach, like himself.
“My personal goals for any team I have is to provide them with an enjoyable experience,” Morales said. “Secondly, I want each individual to reach and maximize their potential, which will be different for each player. Lastly, I hope that the things we work on and teach in games and practices have some overlap into their lives off the field that can help players be successful and good people.”
Morales looks forward to the new season and will focus his time on the team as well as his classes. He will not be coaching any club teams, but will be dedicated to making sure the students and athletes have fun and work to the best of their abilities.
“I love the camaraderie of each team, between the coaches and the players,” Morales said. “But most of all, I love being around the players and seeing them develop and grow. I enjoy seeing them years later and hearing their thoughts and the things they remember. Time after time, they never bring up statistics or records, but instead their memories and stories about their teammates or other things that occur in any given season. Coaching is very rewarding, and I’m lucky to be in the position that I’m in.”