Senior Baseball Player James Baker Reflects on Legacy

Aubrey Hall, Student Life Editor

James Baker (12) has been familiar with the baseball diamond since kindergarten. What began as a family connection has become a strong point of leadership, and as he looks back on his history with the sport as a senior, his connection to his roots and love for the game is ever-present. “I got a strong connection to it with my grandpa,” said Baker,” whenever I’d see my grandpa, I would always throw with him or talk about baseball with him […]. That transitioned to just growing a love for the game at a really young age, and at that point, you don’t really ever want to stop.”

As he steps up to the plate in the final season of his high school career, Baker is assuming a leadership role, which has long been filled by seniors before him such as Davyn Adamscheck and Dominic Archuleta. It’s a shift in position, which Baker’s years of experience have well-prepared him for, but does not come without its challenges. “In years past, I haven’t had to be a leader. There’s always been a senior filling that role,” said Baker, “so now for me to have to do that has been a lot different and has definitely been a learning experience. Instead of just always having to worry about my own business, it’s about having to look at the younger kids and try to help them out wherever I can.”

This parallels the shifts in Baker as an athlete and person that his coaches have witnessed. The team’s head coach, Brandon Dematto, has known Baker since he was in seventh grade, and has seen a noticeable shift in Baker’s role both as a player and a person since that time. “The biggest that I’ve seen is I’ve watched James developed a toughness in the way that he plays,” Dematto said, “and I’ve also watched him grow as a leader.”

The team which Baker has assumed a leadership role in this year has an uphill battle in front of them. Though they are not without talent, the team is young, and some of their more well-versed seniors have graduated. So far, the team has taken home one win against CSCS, and three losses against Dolores Huerta, La Junta, and Kent Denver. “I think that it’s gonna be a tougher road than it’s been in the past few years,” Baker said, “and even though in general, we might not be as talented, we’re still well-coached and we still have good fundamental players that we can get to the point we’ve been at in the past where we can make and be a playoff team. We’re very young this year so I think that the early season is going to be a little rough because we’re just going to be figuring out what exactly we can do, but I think by the end of the season we’ll have a decent opportunity to actually win some ball games.”

As the team heads into the rest of their season, they maintain a confidence, affirmed by both Baker and Coach Dematto, in their ability to improve this Spring. In the near future, they have an upcoming home tournament game against Arrupe Jesuit High School this Friday at 4:00 pm. Arrupe Jesuit has had one win and zero losses thus far.