72° F Monday, June 26, 2017

By Emily Martinez
Westlake Picayune Contributing Writer

On the field, seniors catcher Zach Suarez and center fielder Alex Cabezas play positions that put them on opposite sides of the baseball diamond.

But as for their friendship, the two impact players consider themselves practically brothers.

Together, on and off the field, a combination of talent, experience and good nature make the duo an essential part of the Chaps varsity baseball team.

“The team depends on both of them,” Westlake coach Jeff Montgomery said. “They’re both really hard on themselves and want to be something positive for this team. They never give less than 100 percent on the field.”

The drive they possess is palpable when in their presence. Having a work ethic to rival any athlete, their high school careers continue to be successful. Whether they are in season or not, they regularly hit, run and throw together to maintain and enhance their skills.

“We push each other,” Suarez said. “Every time we step on the field, it’s with the intention of getting better, and the great thing about us is that we know where the other can improve and use that to help one another.”

Though their motivation for self-progression is strong, both seniors know baseball is a team sport and always put the welfare of the team and other players before themselves.

“They are an inspiration to the team,” fellow senior and left fielder Carson Spencer said. “[Cabezas] is the best center fielder I’ve seen, and with [Suarez] leading us behind the plate, our team really comes together because of them.”

The time they have dedicated to baseball makes their passion for the sport obvious. Both Cabezas and Suarez started their baseball careers at an elementary age, advancing from T-ball through rec and club teams up until now, their second year on the varsity squad.

While Cabezas was always meant for the outfield, pushing his speed and strong arm to their full potential as center fielder, Suarez, a childhood third baseman, only started playing catcher in high school and soon thrived behind the plate.

“You’ve got to have a short memory in baseball,” Suarez said. “Overcoming adversity is a part of the game, even when it may be your own mind psyching yourself out. You have to take everything in stride.”

Commanding the field from one end to the other, the duo’s years of experience are displayed by their ability to easily adapt to different coaches, positions and game strategies.

“Throughout high school,we’ve learned a lot about teamwork,” Cabezas recalled. “And no matter what age, position or opponent, baseball has always been about taking advantage of what comes your way.”

And the seasons they played at Westlake have captured the attention of universities. While collegiate baseball may be a possibility for them, they are also committed students are committed to pre-physical therapy plans.

Neither Cabezas nor Suarez has decided on a university for next fall but are keeping all options available.

“The friendships made and lessons learned over the last four years have helped us all as players,” Cabezas said. “As seniors, we know this is our last time playing together, so we don’t want to leave anything on the field at the end of this season.”

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