Season Interrupted: Joaquin Hines takes role modeling seriously

Throughout the spring, The Times will interview high school seniors whose athletic careers were cut short by the coronavirus outbreak.

Name: Joaquin Hines

School: Culver City

Sport: Baseball, infielder

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Key stats: All-leaguer and team captain with speed, good hands and consistent hitting skills.

Fall plans: Will attend Fresno State

On the sudden end to the season:

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“I had a feeling something was happening. With the last couple of games we didn’t shake hands with teams. It went to the point they said it was unsafe to play. It hurt because we’ll never get a proper end to high school baseball.”

On life without sports:

“Sports is my life. I’d wake up, drive to school. I wouldn’t listen to music. I’d listen to sports radio the entire time. I’d come home and watch live sports or SportsCenter. Not having anything sports-related is like a big part of my life is gone. I’ve been able to discover how much I love sports. I go back and watch old games over and over and find little details.”

On finding ways to work out:

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“I roll ground balls over pavers. I know it messes up the balls but you have to stay sharp. It bounces all over the place, but if you can field it here you can field anywhere. I have a treadmill to get my running in. I throw to my two little brothers.”

On the decline in numbers of African-American baseball players:

“Being a role model is really important to me. I like being able to have people look up to me and see I’m doing the right thing. Being African-American makes it even better because I can inspire a whole group of people that look like me to reignite the interest in the sport that we used to have. To be able to give back and help those who look like me is something I will never pass up.”

What he misses most:

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“I miss the little things. I miss the smell of the grass, the feel of the dirt, the pine tar, the cages, the sound of wood, the sound of metal, the sound of a nice slide at second.”

On the new things he’s discovered with his free time:

“I’ve discovered I’m very good entertaining myself. I do not consider myself bored through this quarantine. We just got a new puppy and we’re all raising him.”

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Where he sees himself in 10 years:

“I see myself still in Los Angeles and playing for my dream team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. I’ve been a Dodger fan since I was born. I’m pretty sure I came out with a Dodger flag. I want to play for my city. That’s my dream.”

Video interviews of each athlete can be found at latimes.com/sports/highschool.

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