Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Minor Leagues: Where the Dream Begins


The oddly-named Rancho Cucamonga Epicenter is a svelte minor-league ballpark.Photo byScottthezombie assumed (based on copyright claims). Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

By Anthony Solorzano II

During my third year as a full-time teacher, I was put on a leave of absence because I had my 11th grade students read a satirical article. The text was about a teacher complaining that he couldn’t afford his vices to manage the stress of being a teacher because of his teacher salary. 

Since being put on leave of absence, I have had the time to follow my dream of writing about sports, specifically baseball and soccer. 

Last week, I had a cathartic experience while attending a Class A Minor League game between the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and the Stockton Ports. 

Class A is where the dream of reaching the major leagues starts for many. This is where players embark on their professional careers. Class A is where they begin to pave their way to stardom and make a name for themselves. 

During the top of the fourth inning, Tommy Stevenson hit a 1-1 pitch out the ballpark, giving the Ports a 1-0 lead. Stevenson began his professional career after being drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 19th round of the 2022 draft. His hard work at Missouri Southern State has paid off, and his pursuit of reaching the majors continues. 

For the Quakes, despite finding themselves down by one run, they never waved the white flag or quit. The Quakes persevered, determined to figure out how to climb out of the hole — a stage I can relate to. 

After being put on the leave of absence, my mental health took a dip. I found myself overeating and isolating myself while feeling sorry for myself. A couple of years ago, I applied for a program to become a therapist but was put on the wait-list. I want to make it clear that I am not an expert in mental health, but it seems like I was experiencing symptoms of depression.   

It wasn’t until I started blogging about the Dodgers and writing for Here’s the Pitch that I began to feel like myself again. Just like the Quakes, I climbed out of the hole one blog at a time. 

The Quakes started the bottom of the eighth with a fly-out by Cameron Decker. Following the out, Jose Izarra singled and Chris Newell walked. The next batter hit a ground ball for a potential double-play, but the Ports’ second baseman, Bjay Cooke, missed the throw, resulting in an error. The error allowed a run to score. 

Due to the error, another batter came to bat. The Quakes took the lead when Jorge Puerta hit a double. 

The error that likely impacted my career as a teacher ultimately led me to pursue writing. It allowed me to follow my dream of covering sports, which has resulted in me becoming a writer in the LA Galaxy press box. Just like the Quakes, I have taken the lead and embraced new opportunities. 

No matter how many obstacles are thrown at you, such as a top of the ninth that resulted in the Ports taking the lead after scoring two runs, or being denied by multiple publications, remember that there is always a bottom of the ninth to be played. 

The Quakes began the bottom of the ninth with a single by Jesus Galiz, followed by a single by Kenneth Betancourt. In the third at-bat of the inning, Dayton Dooney sealed the comeback with a walk-off double to left field. 

The Quakes displayed remarkable resilience and never gave up. Despite being down twice in the game, the team continued to fight relentlessly. Inspired by their determination, I will persevere and climb out of my own personal challenges, just as the Quakes fought hard to secure the win.

Coincidentally, the game happened to be Education Day, with the stands filled by students and school staff members. It served as the perfect culmination of my 10 years in education, as I transitioned into my new role as a sportswriter. 

Here’s to dreaming and embracing new beginnings.  

Anthony Solorzano II likes to write about baseball and soccer. Find his writing and blogs at The Squib Substacks

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