For Orange Lutheran senior Art Vidrio playing in the inaugural National High School Invitational is more than just a trip to play baseball, it's an opportunity to show the country that the Lancers are for real. "Being able to showcase our talents in front of a national audience is something we are taking very seriously" said Vidrio. "We are looking at this as a business trip while at the same time using this opportunity to come closer together as a team".
The senior heavy roster for the Lancers understands the level of competition they face nightly in the Trinity League and are eager to prove their worth against some top national competition. That's a point the coaching staff has tried to drive home with this team. "The coaches have told us to stay confident and understand no game is going to be easy given the competition" said Vidrio. "We don't want to be the team that goes home saying "what if"". That confidence has spawned from jumping out to a 10-2 record while going 5-0 in the first round of Trinity League including a come-from-behind win versus Mater Dei and shutout of always stout JSerra.
For Vidrio, a onetime Cal State Fullerton commit, the exposure playing the NHSI will provide is obvious, but he keeps that in perspective. "I don't worry about that when I'm pitching" said Vidirio. "I'm more concerned with getting wins and helping the team win. If I do that the rest will take care of itself". Vidrio's confidence also comes from being on the varsity for four years where he's had the opportunity to watch USC pitcher Bobby Wheatley and UC Irvine pitcher Andrew Thurman ply their craft. "You can't help but learn from those two guys" said Vidrio. "They're both such competitors and they practice as hard, if not harder, than they play. They are great role models".
Now a senior, Vidirio sees the difference in this team than those in the past. "We have great team chemistry, we feel a lot closer to each other than in the past". said Vidrio. "We seem to want each game more than we did in the past too". Leadership is something that Vidrio has added to his list of responsibilities. He's made an effort to become more vocal and always keep the dugout loose and rowdy. "Brent (Wheatley) and I have really taken that upon ourselves" said Vidrio. "When he's pitching, I'm going crazy in the dugout. When I'm pitching it's him getting those guys going in the dugout". That too is something that has been missing the last couple of seasons for the Lancers and the way Vidrio sees it it's something that has been a unifying force for Orange Lutheran. "Becoming a family and becoming very close to each and every player" said Vidrio. "We're like brothers, we all know each other very well".
For a player who is entering the last half of his high school career he understands that the NHSI is not a vacation but indeed a business trip.