The Baldwin Hills Champions baseball program has seen success recently. Their 10U and 13U baseball teams along with their 9U softball team won the City Championship. The Champions are a Parks and Recreation team who battle teams from Peck Park, Van Ness Park, and Rancho Cienega Park among others.
Andre Green is the head coach of the Baldwin Hills Champions and has been coaching baseball for 46 years throughout the Los Angeles area. As well as being coach to the Champions, he coaches the travel ball team Dodgers 42.
“We put up 105 runs in the Pacific playoffs and eight runs in the City Championship,” Green said about the Citywide team. “That was outstanding for these kids.”
The Champions play baseball all year, participating in Fall Ball and the Spring season normally starts in January.
Several Champions players are also on Dodgers 42, including Marjion Boyles, who can play short stop, pitcher and fielder.
“He throws hard and he works hard,” Green said. “He studies a lot of Major League Baseball and a lot of scouts have been watching him.”
While pursuing the Championship, Boyles learned the importance of being positive and having a strong work ethic. Dodgers player Chris Taylor and San Diego Padres player Manny Machado are players that Boyles look up to. He recalled a time when he struck his opponent out to win the game.
“My best and favorite moment was when we got the final out, I pitched three outs,” Boyles said. “The last strike, everybody got excited, everybody started jumping.”
The Dodgers 42 competed in a tournament in Las Vegas last fall and was one of the top three teams to participate, according to Champions assistant coach Jerrell Hightower. They battled against teams from Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Arizona.
“The kids were amazing, were awesome,” Hightower said. “It was our first experience there doing that and the kids performed well, I’m proud of them.”
Green spent 34 years coaching at Crenshaw High School. Hightower was one of the legions of students that were under his tutelage. Through Baldwin Hills, Hightower’s children have also been coached by Green.
“My team is good,” said Jarrell Hightower Jr., who has been with the Champions since the age of three. He is now a teenager. “The team is developing much [more]; we got new players and some of them don’t know how to play. So, we try to talk them up, teach them.”
First baseman and center fielder Nicholas Jones calls his experience “fun and intriguing.” He noted how he liked the Champions’ coaches hands-on teaching style.
“All these other teams that you beat will want to come back and beat you and play even harder than they already play,” Jones said. “It also motivates me to train harder for those teams who are also training harder.”