Cobras baseball confident for successful season

Greg Gancarz

Editor

Citing this year’s roster’s talent, team-wide work ethic, and excellent coaching staff, David Garcia, head coach for Parkland’s baseball team, expressed high confidence in a successful season and being able to win yet another region championship.

The Parkland Cobras have their first game on Feb. 17 in Tennessee. The first home game is not until March 8 at 3 p.m.

Garcia said the team roster, which has changed noticeably from last year thanks to new freshmen and transfer students, features several players who are garnering interest from major league baseball scouts.

“We’ve actually got five or six guys that have been filling out quite a bit of paperwork for major league teams,” Garcia said. “It’s good for our program and it’s good for them to understand that is an option. It speaks to the reputation that Parkland has always had of producing guys that are ready for professional baseball.”

Many of the players on the team are already signed on to transfer to four-year institutions in the fall, a situation that Garcia says has caused some unwanted side-effects in past years. Garcia says this year’s team is different, though.

“In years past, we’ve had players sign early to four-year schools, and about this time of the year, they’re already thinking ahead. [Right now] we’ve got guys that have signed in Power 5 conferences that I don’t ever hear talk about it, because they’re really focused on this year. For that, I’m very fortunate. We’ve got a great group of guys,” Garcia said.

Garcia said some season goals include going for the Cobras’ third straight region championship, but overall, playing the best baseball they can.

“This team’s sights are set out on trying to be one of the best teams Parkland has ever had, on the field and off the field. So far, I’m very happy with where we’re at, but at the same time, our mindset is that we’re going to practice like we’re 0–56. These guys haven’t taken anything for granted,” Garcia said.

The training and practice schedules meant to achieve those goals include lifting in the gym six to eight hours every week in addition to practicing three hours a day, six days a week.

“Their only day off right now is Sunday and, sometimes, we don’t even have that as we get closer to the season. Study tables on top of it, [and a] full class load, and some of these guys still work,” Garcia said. “The hours that they put in is pretty impressive. I don’t think people realize what they put in. We ask a lot out of these guys and as a team [last year] we pulled a 3.1 GPA with 41 guys on the team.”

Garcia says there’s never any standing around at practices thanks to good organization. Players “get after it” as soon as practice starts and then are back in the gym lifting. In addition to practice, lifting, and studies, the team also takes time to give back to the community, training with a local youth travel team for two to three hours a week.

Garcia says the workload is a lot, but the coaching staff has been fortunate enough to be able to identify players that can handle the stress.

“Our guys have worked their butts off. You can write how talented somebody is on a piece of paper all you want. Talent-wise, I feel that we are very good, but as far as a work ethic goes and a willingness to work hard and develop this team, this has been one of the best [teams] I’ve had so far,” Garcia said. “The overall character of this team, I’m very impressed with. They’re great guys. They get along well. They take their academics seriously. They take playing
baseball seriously.”

Garcia himself played as a Cobra from 1998–2000. This will be his fifth season as head coach at Parkland. He led the Cobras to the World Series in both 2016 and 2017, with a third place finish last season.

“I love it. This has been a great experience…The most important thing; I’ve been extremely blessed with some great coaches in the area,” Garcia said. “My coaching staff is, to me, why we’re successful, and the hard work and the development that the players put in. I’m just lucky enough to steer the ship.”

The Cobras’ schedule can be found online at parkland.edu/athletics under baseball.