The Bloomington High School baseball team made history this season as they emerged as the San Andreas League Champions, making it to the CIF and State semifinals, a feat the school has yet to accomplish in the past 40 years.
Under the guidance of Varsity Head Coach Carlos Contreras, now in his sixth season, the team’s 2022-2023 season was nothing short of exemplary. Comprising twenty players, they broke records and redefined the culture and spirit of baseball in the community.
“This season, we played six games through the CIF and State Tournament. We are proud of our boys for their grit, determination, and team spirit,” said Contreras.
The Bloomington Bruins’ journey ended in the CIF semi-finals against Castaic High School on May 16th with a final score of 6 to 1, and they lost to Ganesha High School (Pomona) in the state semifinals on June 1st.
“The support from our coaching staff, grounds crew, parents, and community have been instrumental in our success,” Contreras added. “When the field looks good, and players feel good, they perform better. This is our first year with immense parental involvement, and they’ve been vital in facilitating uniforms and other logistics. Most importantly, our boys believed in themselves and worked relentlessly towards their goal.”
The team’s impressive season saw them rack up 26 wins against just five losses, a record Contreras believes can be improved next season. With 16 players returning and the entire pitching staff, the team has a robust foundation for another successful season. Their overall run average of 2.21 and a defensive percentage of .945 kept them in every game they played.
The community rallied around the team. Mike Ashman, a Bloomington High School Alumni who played on the CIF team in 1975 and is now a coach for the Los Angeles Angels, offered his support before each game. “The community must support because it keeps everyone together and provides opportunities for interaction,” Contreras emphasized.
Andrew “TJ” Tejada, a senior and the team’s star pitcher, reflected on the season’s highs and lows. “The most impactful memory was our game against Rim of the World at San Manuel Stadium for County Clash,” he recalled. “At one point, we were down 7-2, but we didn’t let it get to us. We battled to the end; the final score was 7-8. That’s a testament to our spirit and resilience. We’re all looking forward to the next season and hope to go beyond the semi-finals and win it all.”
The team’s achievements were also reflected in the numerous awards they received. With a 30-scoreless inning streak, Tejada was named league MVP and selected as All Inland Empire. David Barajas, a senior first baseman, was chosen as the League MVP for the San Andreas League. A junior and right fielder, Dylan Buzard made All League, All CIF, and was All Inland Empire.
Seven team members made All-League, All-CIF, All-Inland Empire, and the California Baseball Coaches Association Southern California Second Team. Assistant Coach Alexander Estrada praised the team’s cohesive spirit, “This team played for each other. They all understood their roles, and everyone contributed. It was their combined efforts that brought us this success.”
Contreras received the Coach of the Year award in recognition of the team’s achievements. Looking forward to the next season, Contreras added, “Our 2023-2024 baseball season will start in August. We’ll start doing pre-tryout workouts, and the official tryouts will be held in September, which will coincide with the start of fall ball.”
Historically, this victory holds significant importance for Bloomington High School, where sports have always been a focal point for student engagement. This achievement refers to the glory days of the mid-’70s when the school’s sports teams were dominant, instilling renewed pride and energy into the school and the wider Bloomington community.