Culver City High baseball team gets ready for playoffs

As a catcher, senior Eric Perez of Culver City is a wall behind the plate, but he is also trouble for opposing pitchers. He is batting .408 and has scored 16 runs, has 13 runs batted and has he has hit seven doubles and a home run.

When high school sports move into the month of May that can only mean one thing, playoffs. After completing their regular season on Thursday against Santa Monica at home at 3:30 p.m. the baseball team will start their quest to try win a CIF championship. It’s what high school teams dream about. The baseball team is hoping their dream will come true after they got back on the winning track last Tuesday when they beat Santa Monica on the road 2-0 after dropping two close games to Palos Verdes last week. The losses to Palos Verdes knocked the Centaurs out of first place in the Bay league. Going into the final game of league play Palos Verdes is 8-1 and Culver City is 7-2. Even if the Centaurs tie Palos Verdes record wise the Sea Kings will win the title because of their head-to-head matchups. Second place is not a bad place to be in when it comes to CIF pairings. Culver City had won eight games in a row before the losses to Palos Verdes. It’s part of the game,” said one of Culver City’s star players Alonso Reyes after one of the losses to the Sea Kings last week. “I always tell my teammates that we are not going to win every game. They know that failure is part of the game, so I just try to keep them in the right mind set. I tell them that tomorrow is a new day, and you can’t change what happened in the past.” When the playoffs start next week, they will need to win every game to avoid elimination. Being one of the best players in the league Reyes is under a lot of pressure to perform at a high level every time he takes the field. Last week several Major League scouts attended the game between Culver City and Palos Verdes. “I don’t put pressure on myself. I have been playing baseball since I was four years old. I think pressure comes from the outside. It’s cool to see the scouts but I don’t pay a lot of attention to things that are out of my control. “We need to just trust the work that we put in. Every single day we come out here and work hard. The coaches prepare us the right way, so we just keep working hard every day and every week.” Star players at public schools are constantly recruited by private schools but Reyes decided to stay at Culver City for four years. “This is home,” said Reyes. “Coach (Rick) Prieto has done a great job with me and my teammates. He is always there for us. He’s been such a great coach for me. I never thought about going anywhere else. This is my home.” Another player who stayed home is catcher Eric Perez. Like Reyes, Perez is batting over .400 and being the catcher, he is the general on the field. “Everybody counts on me, and you have a lot of responsibility, and you have the power to change the game at any moment,” said Perez. Being the catcher, you have to be able to handle different pitchers. “All of our pitchers are upperclassmen except Evan Reiter and he has matured very quickly,’ said Perez. “That’s a plus for our pitching staff. We have guys who have been pitching for a while. I call the game and I have confi dence in all of our pitchers.” Like Reyes, Perez played four years on the varsity team, and he knows there is no place like home. “It’s a blessing. I don’t have the words to describe how I feel about playing four years of varsity baseball at Culver City.”