The Cabrillo College baseball team began its season under a new era of coaching that prioritizes individual development for the team’s betterment.
Seahawks manager Scott Masik fiercely stands behind the team motto: “1% better, every day.”
The first-year skipper made this his mission since taking over for longtime manager Bob Kittle, who did not return this season.
Masik signed with the Oakland Athletics after playing for Cabrillo in 2010 and 2011.
“Coming back here is an awesome opportunity because I’ve played on this field, and I know what it means to be a Cabrillo Seahawk,” he says.
Masik knows what it takes to build a winning team.
The Seahawks’ season got off to a rough start, as they won just three of their first nine games, including a 21-5 loss to San Joaquin Delta College.
Twenty-five of the 40 Seahawks are freshmen who are still adjusting to the vigor of college baseball, so the organization was prepared for the slow start.
“We’re a young coaching staff; we have a relatively young team,” Masik says. “We are trying to figure out how to win.”
Cabrillo’s roster has 13 players from high schools in Monterey Bay, but the rest are new to the area and traveled from as far as Hawaii. It’s a testament to the extensive recruiting process exhibited by all major Cabrillo sports—the basketball team has only one local player.
The Seahawks’ season is just ramping up, but it’s already clear they have considerable talent on their roster. Catcher Kawana Soares and pitcher Ian Sullivan—both sophomores with scholarships through next season—are team leaders and are here to ensure they win.
While Cabrillo lost its first four before winning three consecutive games, followed by another two losses, the Seahawks are confident they will figure things out as the season progresses.
Some positive takeaways early on include a dominant 10-3 victory against Laney College, a tough competitor.
“We know that coming into the season, it was going to be a tough stretch,” Soares says.
Last season, Cabrillo finished a mediocre 19-21 overall and 11-9 in Coast Conference South Division play.
During the offseason, the Seahawks worked tirelessly in the weight room to ensure each player was physically prepared for the intensity of the 40-game season.
“Every day is not going to be the best day of your life,” Masik says. “Baseball is a game of failure and adversity. We have a team who tries to take one step in the right direction every day.”
The focus has been on developing team chemistry—teammates have bonded through participating in non-baseball activities, like cheering for their Cabrillo peers at football and basketball games.
Following the losing streak, the team was more aware of the necessary adjustments.
“Our bats in the beginning, everyone was anxious; everyone was trying to swing the bat hard,” Soares says. “That was what kind of killed us; we didn’t have a lot of hits in our first couple of games.”
The modifications paid off, and Cabrillo went on a winning streak. The Seahawks began hitting their stride before two losses to San Joaquin Delta (10-0). But there’s a lot of time to figure things out, and progress is being made: Cabrillo (4-6) bounced back in extra innings with an 8-7 win over Diablo Valley College on Feb. 18.
“We’re taking this one game at a time,” Masik says.
Next, the Seahawks play West Valley College (3-7) on Saturday at 1pm in Santa Clara.