Justin Palafox: High school baseball made him a ‘better man’

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If Justin Palafox had his way, he would have played baseball four years instead of two at Burroughs High.

Still, the recent graduate compiled an impressive resume during his senior and junior seasons, each time being selected All-Pacific League first team as the Indians made the CIF Southern Section playoffs, though losing in the opening round.

‘…not giving up and working hard to reach your goal is what stuck with me.’ –Justin Palafox on playing baseball at Burroughs High

“I will remember most about playing with the Indians is the fun I had, not just from playing the game, but from my teammates,’’ said Palafox, a slick-fielding shortstop who will attend Glendale College and play baseball. “We shared many memories throughout games and practices and I’ll remember those forever.’’

Palafox, who batted .388 as a senior and .434 as a junior, wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

“In the batter’s box, I try not to think too much,’’ he said. “Depending on the situation, my main goal is to put the ball in play and the best way to do that is to think positive thoughts.”

Palafox added: “The same goes for when I’m at shortstop. I just have that confidence in the back of my head knowing I can make that play or get that out,’’ he said.

The Indians have been winners throughout Palafox’s tenure, but a triumph over their rival was especially sweet.

“The one game that stood out the most for me was my junior year when we won league at Burbank,’’ he said. “We were down early that game and I hit the game-tying and go-ahead runs in. It was a great feeling coming back that game and winning league.’’

Palafox, who scored 13 runs as a senior and 16 runs tallied with 16 runs batted in as a junior, would do anything to help the team succeed.

“As a player I bring many things to the table, with all my tools I see myself as a threat,’’ he said. “I can run, hit, field and all those just add up to me contributing to my team.’’

Many goals were met and sometimes even exceeded. “Most of the team goals were accomplished,’’ said Palafox. “We were a young team and I believe all of us developed greatly. We made the playoffs, which was a big goal for us.’’

What did Palafox take from baseball? “I learned a lot of lessons playing high school baseball and those lessons range from being a better baseball player to being a better man,’’ he said. “Baseball is a tough sport, but not giving up and working hard to reach your goal is what stuck with me.’’

Palafox hopes to continue playing at a Division I program. “The best part about playing baseball was the competitiveness,’’ he said. “I always have that drive to work hard and make sure I stand out. Baseball is the best sport there is and it’s pretty hard not to enjoy it.’’

Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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