A first in 85 years, Alhambra baseball to play in championship

In a come-from-behind victory on Tuesday, the Moors secured the chance to play in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championships Friday at Dodger Stadium. The last time Alhambra High did that was 85 years ago. 

"This is for all the Moors," Alhambra coach Steve Gewecke told the Pasadena Star-News. "It feels outstanding. Just look at all the people here."

The Los Angeles Wave summarized the turn of events: 

Battling back from a 4-0 deficit in which an inordinate amount of bloopers and bad hops seemed to fall in Beckman’s favor, the Moors recorded a 6-4 victory at Moor Field to earn a spot in the Southern Section Division III championship game.

For the first time since 1927, the school will be in a title game when it faces Bonita at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Dodger Stadium. For the record, the Moors lost that time, 9-0 to Fullerton.

Juan Morales photographed for Miguel Melendez's feature.

Among the team members making the difference is senior co-captain Juan Morales. Miguel Melendez, who is the Preps editor at the Star-News and is himself an Alhambra High alum, profiled Morales before the semis:

In less than four years, Alhambra High School's Juan Morales has transformed from a pudgy catcher to the best defensive first baseman in Moors coach Steve Gewecke's 17 seasons at the school.

The transformation, Melendez reports, Morales credits to a work ethic he gained from his father, an immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico. After practices the pair would head to Almansor Park, with his younger brother Alex, and practice fielding grounders.

"I have heart and can work my (butt) off." Morales, who is headed to Rio Hondo, told Melendez. That appears to be an attribute with which he has lead the team, and which many of his peers share. 

"They never give up," Gewecke told the Star-News about the team after Tuesday's victory. "We've won games in a variety of ways this year. It didn't surprise me that they came back."

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