A senior on the Central Florida Christian Academy baseball team, first baseman Ish Hernandez has had his share of big moments for the Eagles already this season, including a home run in a game against area powerhouse West Orange. None of them tops what happened March 9, though, as Hernandez hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning to give CFCA (5-10) a 7-6 rivalry and district win over Foundation Academy.
How did you feel up there at the plate knowing what was at stake against Foundation Academy on March 9?
That game I went 0-for-4 before that at-bat. I knew that if I had the opportunity to go up there (once more), I’d make it happen. So I put all four at-bats behind me and just came through. It meant more because it was against Foundation and we had previously lost (to them).
Just how much did that win mean, given the context?
Every win matters, especially with this team. We’re young, but I can see lots of talent, and that glue is coming together. … Getting a win, especially a district win, helps boost our morale. It gets us ready for districts coming up.
What have you been working on improving at the plate?
I knew that last year, I’d seen my stats, and it was a pretty average season. Senior year, I wanted to come out with a bang. Coach (Larry Oldham) [and I] worked on some hitting mechanics. I took what he was giving me and put it in play.
You guys didn’t win the game, but you hit a home run against West Orange — a Class 8A opponent. How did that feel?
Playing a big school like that, sometimes nerves could come through. That day, I really wasn’t nervous because it was just a regular game. … I didn’t really expect to hit the home run, but when it came, it boosted our morale, most definitely. We didn’t get the win, but it felt good.
Between now and the district tournament, is there anything in particular you are looking for from the team to see that you’re heading in the right direction?
This stretch that we have (now), the home stretch. Pleasing our crowd, having that home crowd behind us, that shows us who we are, because obviously when we go away, it’s a hostile environment. Just giving the fans what they come to watch and hopefully coming away with the ‘W’ shows what kind of team we are.
You play basketball for CFCA, too. How much did you enjoy being able to play the two sports at the varsity level?
Well, you know, this school is great, giving me the opportunity to play both. Baseball is my No. 1; I played it as a kid. But this school gave me an opportunity to come out and play some basketball.
As a senior, what’s the outlook for you after graduation?
Most likely (attend college) as a student. Pursue a career in the health department, possibly (become) a pediatrician. I’m doing my first two years at probably Valencia (College), then I’ll go straight to UCF and finish there.
You guys got new hats this year to pair with the rebranding of the CFCA logo. Which hat do you like more?
I like these hats (the new ones) — I like the green-and-gold mixture. I like it a lot. (The logo) goes well with the colors.
What’s your favorite class that you’re taking right now?
AP Government. I used to be a history guy, so I like the challenge.
What do you like about studying the government and politics?
My teacher (Darrell Davis), he’s pretty funny when it comes to the government. He has that Libertarian type of viewpoint. He gives us both sides, plays devil’s advocate, so I like that.
So what is Ish doing on the weekends with his free time?
Just watching “SportsCenter.” Catching up and going out with friends and working at Chick-fil-A.
What’s your favorite sport to watch on television?
Right now it’s the NBA, but when MLB season comes full-swing, it’s MLB.
What’s your favorite team in the respective sports?
I don’t really have a favorite team when it comes to the NBA; I like Lebron James. But when it comes to baseball, it’s definitely the Red Sox.
What’s a hobby or something about you that a lot of people don’t know?
A lot of people think that I’m a serious guy, but I just like to chill with friends and be at home with family.
What’s your favorite television show right now?
“The Blacklist” — I like Red (James Spader). He’s a pretty cool guy.
What are you looking forward to the most about your last few weeks as a senior?
Just being with these guys, you know. This school has been great to me. Closing out the year, hopefully, we get pretty far in districts and farther then we did last year.