Tucson High gears up for the season at Jet Sports Training
Training for baseball season is about more than hitting and throwing drills and throwing in the bullpen.
The Tucson High School baseball team, which begins practice for the 2022 season on Monday, is an example of what schools are increasingly doing these days to prepare for the season.
The Badgers, under fourth-year coach Marc Morristrained regularly at Jet Sports Training with Jose Felixa coach at the facility, leading the Badgers through the training series.
“I’m looking for an extra edge,” Morris said. “I don’t have that training, speed and agility (context). I’m a baseball guy. Teaming up with Jose, and I have 35 to 40 guys here, is fantastic. They work their tail. He does a great job with the program.
“I’ve seen a huge difference in their strength and speed so far, that’s what we’re looking for.”
Badgers varsity and junior teams participate in practices at Jet Sports Training. Their workouts with Jet Sports Training will continue throughout the season at Cherry Field on Wednesdays.
Morris coached the Badgers to a 36-17 record in three seasons, including a 6A Desert Southwest title last year and a 6A Metro championship in 2019.
Tucson hasn’t been able to make it past the first round of the state playoffs in both seasons, providing a boost for Morris’ 12 seniors, many of whom will play in college.
Three of the standougs who signed are infielders Nick Arias (son of former Pueblo, Pima and Arizona star George Arias), first baseman Mario Bejarano and third baseman Benji Cazares. Nick Arias heads to the Grand Canyon, Bejarano to Central Arizona College, and Cazares to Pima College.
The Badgers season begins February 23-26 with the Chris Moon Memorial Tournament.
The event is held annually in honor of the Chris Moonthe former Tucson High and Arizona baseball player who lost his life in 2010 while fighting in Afghanistan in the War on Terror.
The opening ceremonies on February 23 when Tucson plays Sahuaro will include a memorial honor for Troy Iturraldea Class 2023 Badger pitcher who died last month of stage 4 testicular cancer diagnosed last April.
“The guys who are closest to him have struggled with it,” Morris said. “I struggled with that. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with. Two children grew up with him. There are three or four guys who played with Western (Little League) with him. It was hard for them.
“I was proud of them because they stood up and said the Rosary that night. It gave them a bit of closure, a bit of good feeling. I talked to them about playing in honor That’s the only way to honor him is to play like he would, smile like he would, and love like he would.
Morris added that Iturralde will be honored with a tribute at Cherry Field during the February 23 ceremonies.
“He’s going to be on the pitch with us forever,” he said.
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Javier Morales, publisher, writer and editor of ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com, is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star Beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News, and Baseball America, among many other publications. He is also the author of the book “The Highest Life Form”, which is available on Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is currently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.
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