As we continue this special San Pedro News Pilot Class Of 2020 Spotlight feature series on student athletes at the San Pedro-based high schools whose senior years were cut short due to the coronavirus, here is our feature on San Pedro High School baseball infielder.
In three years time, Duarte has carved his own path in a very athletic family as being a proven clutch hitter, and a sensational defender that can play anywhere in the middle part of the field, primarily at second base with the Pirates.
His list of postseason accolades: three Marine League championships, a 2019 Marine League Co-Player Of The Year honor (shared with fellow San Pedro Class Of 2020 teammate Travis Connelly), and two All CIF-Los Angeles City Section first team selections (Division 1, 2017, Open Division 2019). Duarte was all set for another magnificent season, especially after impressing during the summer at the Geico City Series in Chicago last July.
Duarte got held back due to a preseason injury that caused him to miss the first four games, but came back stronger, and in what eventually turned out to be his last game on March 11, Duarte opened off the Pirates' eventual 3-1 victory at Palisades Charter with a home run on the very first pitch of the game.
Baseball remains in the blood of Joshua, who will be joining his brother & San Pedro 2016 alumni Jonathan to play at Georgetown College in Kentucky.
WHEN YOU FOUND OUT THE SEASON WAS ENDING DUE TO COVID-19, HOW DID YOU FEEL IN REGARD TO THAT TURN OF EVENTS: "When I first heard that rumor to be honest, I didn't think it was true. After the win against Palisades we were already focused on our next game (San Fernando) that Friday, but hearing the terrible news knowing that my senior season was going to come to an end, it was disappointing. Especially because we were getting hot as a team."
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON OUT OF YOUR FOUR YEARS AT SPHS: "My junior year."
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT IN A GAME: "Just being able to see my name in the varsity lineup card as a freshman."
WHAT WILL YOU MISS THE MOST AT SPHS: "Just basically being around the group of guys we had on our team. Just being on the field with them every single day after lunch. This team was the best team I have ever played for. I've known some of those guys my entire life, and just making tons of memories every day is what I will miss most."
FAVORITE QUOTES: "The game of baseball isn't over until it's over, this ain't no country club." - San Pedro baseball assistant coach Ray Mendoza. "You are never a loser until you quit trying. I swing with everything I got. I hit big or I miss big, I like to live as big as I can."
WHAT IS YOUR TRUE APPROACH WHEN YOU STEP UP TO THE PLATE: "My true approach is to stay relaxed as possible and to go up there with a purpose, not just free swinging. I try to stay inside the ball as possible and use the middle of the field as much as I can, but also it's all depending on what the situation is. With nobody on I try to stay through the ball and shoot for the gaps as much as possible."
HOW MUCH DID YOUR EXPERIENCE IN CHICAGO LAST SUMMER FURTHER ENHANCE YOUR ALL-AROUND GAME: "I feel like my experience in Chicago at the Geico City Series furthered my all-around game a lot. Being around my teammates who were great ball players and and just also being around the other teams getting to talk to them, hearing what they had to say about their baseball skills was just great. Made me learn a lot of other new things."
WHAT IS YOUR MAIN GOAL THAT YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE ONCE YOU SET FOOT ON CAMPUS AT GEORGETOWN COLLEGE: "To go out and become a better baseball player, to get stronger, and to hopefully start a future with the sport of baseball."
FINALLY, IF YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR THE UNDERCLASS TEAMMATES AT SPHS YOU LEAVE BEHIND, WHAT WILL THAT MESSAGE BE: "Keep the program rolling where the Class Of 2020 left off, and good luck your entire season."
(Note: Photo by Melissa Harper)