Orange Lutheran senior Richard Tejeda remembers when his grandfather gave him a plastic bat for his third birthday. Grandpa loved baseball, and of course, he wanted his grandson to play. Hitting rocks and wiffle balls in the yard while watching his older brother play sparked Tejada’s interest, and he soon developed a love for the sport.
“I think [baseball] just gives you the highest of highs and then it can also humble you real quick,” says Tejeda. “It gives you a great balance of working hard without becoming over-prideful. But it can reward you for your hard work as well.”
Tejada is a catcher for the Lancers, a position where he can be in on every play and build relationships with each player. For his final season at OLu, the three-year varsity player is working to be consistent in his ability and put the best product out on the field each day.
“Richard has been loyal and committed to our program, his teammates and his trade,” says OLu baseball head coach Eric Borba. “He brings a ton of energy that fuels the team, and he can always be relied upon to do the right things. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does this senior season and where he ends up playing in college. The future is bright.”
Tejada considers it an honor to play for OLu baseball, where Christ is at the center of the program.
“I know this program is very prestigious, and I think the biggest thing for us is wearing that cross,” says Tejada. “Being able to play for him…is just fantastic. And the fact that this school let’s me do that is amazing to me. It feels good to know you have a whole school behind you. It means so much to me.”
Having faced a number of injuries during his time in the sport, Tejada leans on his faith to help him deal with the setbacks and challenges that come with being on the sidelines.
“I think overcoming them is through faith, just looking towards God and having him comfort me during those times of stress,” says Tejada. “Knowing that I have God with me just really helped me through it.”
Known as a “game of failure”, Tejada draws upon the life lessons of baseball, namely hard work and learning to let go of the mistakes.
“There are always people trying to outwork you,” says Tejada. “For this game, holding on to your mistakes is definitely not something you can do. Letting go of your mistakes and forgetting about your past as quickly as possible is definitely the best part of it.”
Away from the baseball diamond, you might find Tejada walking his dog or spending time with his six-month old niece. The 18-year old is hoping to play collegiate baseball alongside studying kinesiology, and he’s grateful for his father’s guidance and influence on his life.
“My dad came from a family who didn't have much, and he showed us how to be a father figure when he really didn't have one,” says Tejada. “He could go through the toughest days and wouldn’t show it. He’s taught me to be a man of faith and has shown me how to be a good person.”
As he prepares to take his next steps, Tejada considers his faith to be an integral part of being a student athlete, and he looks forward to learning God’s plan for his life.
“I thank God for allowing us to play the game,” says Tejada. “I understand that everything we do is in God's name, so that's why we wear a cross. We are very respectful of what he has given us.”