The second-leading hitter for El Camino Real's baseball team is senior third baseman Jesus Nunez, who's batting .368 with one strikeout in 38 at-bats.
Not bad for someone who was cut when he tried out for the freshman team, barely made the freshman-sophomore team, played junior varsity last season and started out this season as a reserve.
In other words, Nunez has perservered.
"My parents told me to keep working hard and don't give up," he said.
Nunez could have transferred after getting cut as a freshman. He lived across the street from Canoga Park and was allowed into El Camino Real through open enrollment, but he was there for more than just baseball. Academics was important. He kept playing baseball at the West Hills PONY League until trying out again at ECR and making it. He also began to grow. Instead of being 5 feet 4, he has grown to 6 feet.
He was finally put into the starting lineup this season against Taft and hasn't come out since in helping ECR to a 19-7 record. He said he made a simple adjustment with his hands and has been hitting the ball well ever since.
When he was cut, Nunez said, "It kind of leaves you with a little fire in you and puts a chip on your shoulder."
Three years later, there are players from that freshman team no longer playing baseball while Nunez is suddenly a varsity starter.
"It makes all the hard work you put in 10 times better," he said.
He has been accepted academically to attend UC Santa Barbara. And if he keeps hitting, who knows when baseball might end.