Despite Obstacles, Baseball Manages To Have A Successful Season


Emily Salazar

# 19 Jacob Manzella winds up for a pitch.

Isaac Ng, Sports Editor

After finishing 17-7 during a season surrounded by controversy, baseball lost to Banning in its first-round postseason match-up 4-2 June 9. 

Earlier this season, a controversy related to the baseball field put the Gondos’ season in jeopardy. After complaints arose from a new neighbor in the Venice community, LAUSD eventually came to an agreement that will require the left-field fence to be 20 feet taller, according to interim assistant principal Fonna Bishop. 

During the week of Monday, May 3, LAUSD postponed home games for the baseball team because of the issue. 

During practices, baseballs frequently reached one of the neighbor’s backyards adjacent to the field’s left-field fence. Since the fence was on their land, it did not take long for the neighbor to take action and threaten LAUSD with a lawsuit. 

¨For the neighbors, it was a safety issue,” Bishop said. ¨They were in the yard and the balls would come over—it didn’t happen very often, but it did.¨

Coach Kevin Brockway added, “It’s not affecting our season. The only difference is not being able to be on the field. In the past, we’ve hit home runs and had things broken but the school paid for it.¨

Many parents of athletes were concerned when a TikTok depicted that these neighbors had installed a door in front of a hole in the fence they created, giving them access to the field. 

To address the situation, LAUSD hosted a meeting online Monday, May 10, drawing 98 participants, including many people tied to the Venice baseball and softball community. 

Many other neighbors understood the concern but found the action being taken unnecessary because it was unfair for both baseball and softball players.  

¨The whole neighborhood has changed,¨ said Johnny Garcia ’91. ¨This situation has changed the school. This is sad.¨

 The softball team also still doesn’t have a fully renovated field of their own. In the meantime, they are using the baseball field until their field is completed by 2023.

 ¨The girls have suffered the most,¨ said Tracy Boulanger, a parent of senior baseball player Luke Boulanger. ¨They got their field removed first and will be the last ones to get it.¨

The district will now be paying for and begin constructing poles and a net that will curve into the field.  The poles will curve inward so that the electrical lines are not compromised. These poles will need to be 10 feet away from any power lines, according to athletic director Alfredo Korzenik.

By the next baseball season, the new safety features to protect the neighbors will be added. 

The $20,000 scoreboard that the parents purchased next year will also go up next year.

According to Korzenick, although the baseball team does not usually hit home runs over the left-field fence during home games very often, during practice it is more common.

At the end of the day, the Gondos are happy to play ball again.

¨It felt great to be back and do the things that we loved, that we worked hard for,¨ Morales said. ¨I felt so mad because people were trying to take away the one thing we got back this year and the one thing we do on a daily basis.¨