Serra freshman Kody Gaines has been playing baseball since the age of four (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Serra freshman Kody Gaines will start his high school career in baseball this spring. He also played on the football team this past season.

Gaines started playing baseball at the age of four, his grandmother put him in the sport. By the age of six, he began competing for the Baldwin Hills Champions.

He was a member of the squad who won the City Championship in 2019. The best advice that he got was from the veteran coach Andre Green.

“He gives a lot of good advice,” Gaines said. “Never give up, just keep playing. You mess up one time, it’s okay, just keep going.”

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Gaines played catcher for the Champions. He also has experience as an outfielder and a third baseman. Gaines enjoys playing at third base the most.

“My favorite part about third base is the ball is not always gonna come to you, but you’ll always have to be ready if you do come in because it’s gonna come fast and hot,” he said.

Gaines’ grandmother frequently took him to batting cages to enhance his skills on the plate. This took a halt when the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020.

“[In] quarantine, we didn’t go and I was just a little rusty from quarantine because I didn’t have nothing to do,” Gaines said.

Throughout his career, Gaines found motivation from his grandmother and parents. His grandmother encouraged him to not give up, his father sends him motivational social media posts and his mother holds him accountable academically.

“My mom, she’s always on me about schoolwork. Anything lower than a C, she’s on my head about it,” Gaines said. “My father … he’s on me about school too but he’s mostly on me about sports. He’s always telling me “you got to go train.””

Gaines’ favorite class is Geometry. He knows that he must have good grades to compete.

“You have to make time for school and sports at the same time, you can’t just be all about sports and not be in the books,” Gaines said. “You just got to manage your time, you got to manage it wisely.”

The Cavaliers football team had a 9-4 overall record and reached the semifinals in the division II Southern Section playoffs. He noted that watching his teammates work alongside him was a “fun experience.”

“I’ve gotten faster, I lost some weight,” Gaines said. “I’ve gained muscle, I’ve got stronger, I’ve got stronger mentally.”