By Jeremy McDonald
EUGENE, Ore.– Under the triple-digit heat at Sheldon High School were two-current and a future teammate playing against each other.
Along the third-baseline were the Alvarado’s, Sean and Danny and Champions Baseball. The other, Aaron Zavala and Portland Baseball Club.
Sean Alvarado admits that there’s always a friendly little rivalry when it comes down to competing against a guy like Zavala as they face off one last time entering the bottom of the fifth inning.
“I feel like playing against him it’s always going to be a friendly rivalry,” said Alvarado with a smile. “We’re always going to try to one-up each other, try to do better than one another. But we always push each other. He’s a real competitor, he’s a guy I’m surprised that no big colleges are after him yet because he’s a dude and he makes me better.
“He’s one of the hardest working guys, he’s always in the gym and to play with him, it’s amazing. He’s a dude behind the plate, he can hit the crap out of the ball. Props to him.”
Zavala too agrees that it’s fun to be playing against teammates as a way to make the other guy better as much as him for when school ball starts up again come Spring time.
“Oh it’s fun, we’re always on the same side of things, being against them just brings out the competitive side again and obviously we want to see each other succeed. But also ourselves want to do well too,” laughed Zavala.
For Zavala who’s entering his senior year, wanting to see the younger guys below him like with the Alvarado’s is just who he is as a role model by showing them how it’s done off-the-field to have success on the diamond come Gameday.
“Personally I try to be the best role model as I can be for the younger guys. Putting in all the work that I do and stuff and showing those younger guys that’s what you need to do to get to the next level,” said Zavala. “To be successful, you got to be putting in work and being in the weight room and be hitting and working on all the little things and stuff throughout the off-season.
“I think a lot of it comes like I said, in the weight room just because that’s where you find out who your real teammates are and what they’re really made of.”135
With the next crop of catchers coming in that includes Danny Alvarado, the younger Alvarado has seen the type of work, focus and effort Zavala puts in as the incoming freshman caught three games-in-a-row including catching for his brother Wednesday afternoon in Eugene as he develops as a athlete.
“What I really noticed already was that he never takes a pitch off,” said Danny Alvarado. “He’s in it every pitch, and when he get’s his pitch to hit, he makes sure he doesn’t miss. That’s a great aspect of his game, he doesn’t miss.
“Even in between innings he’s hustling on-and-off the field, he’s doing everything right to make sure that if someone is watching that he looks his best.”
And Zavala’s already impressed with where Danny is as he shows him the ropes as catcher this upcoming season.
“Just putting him through all the stuff I’ve been through and showing him the ways, he’s already a really good catcher as is,” said Zavala. “So he’s coming in already really solid, so it’s the really the little things really.”
As Zavala rips a single off of Sean Alvarado in the bottom of the fifth a few pitches into the At-bat, you know both Sean and Aaron will be talking each others ear off for a while after Wednesday.
“Oh I’ll be giving him crap for it for a while,” said Zavala.
“He’ll always be one of the hardest batters I’ve faced here, I think he always got the advantage against me because he caught me all season. But I feel like I blew by him a few times,” laughed Sean. “Even though he still knows my stuff, I feel like I got him a couple of times.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald