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Ripken Baseball Coach Spotlight: Gustavo Arango, Putty Hill Panthers

By Ripken Baseball, 08/14/18, 9:15AM EDT

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After growing up in Puerto Rico where baseball is “more than religion”, Gustavo Arango had a life-long passion.

After growing up in Puerto Rico where baseball is “more than religion”, Gustavo Arango had a life-long passion. He began playing the game at a young age – much like the kids he currently coaches. After playing all through little league, he had officially “caught the bug”.

His love of the game led to an opportunity to coach after his kids got involved in the sport. He now coaches the Putty Hill Panthers 12u team, a group of kids that has been playing together since age nine.

“They trust each other, they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They’ve learned to pick one another up rather than pick on each other,” said Coach Arango.

The Putty Hill Panthers have a bond that comes from years of teamwork and familiarity. This is not all that makes the team so strong. In addition to focusing on fundamentals, Coach Arango preaches an important team mantra.

“Attitude, focus and effort,” said Coach Arango. “You can’t control what the pitcher throws, but you can control what you do.”

Arango understands that this is an important age for his athletes. He has seen them grow and transition from kids playing a game to a team grinding and putting in the work they know is needed for success. It is important that they recognize the parallels between baseball and life.

“Both can sometimes be an uphill battle, but if you have a good attitude, focus and put in effort, you give yourself a chance to win,” said Coach Arango.

The Panthers’ success is not only evident in the character of its athletes, but also on the field. This was proved during the team’s performance at the Blue Crab Week-Long Experience at The Ripken Experience Aberdeen Powered By Under Armour.

“You never know what kind of competition to expect going into a tournament, but this one was so fairly matched,” said Coach Arango.

Over the Panthers’ seven games played in Aberdeen, there were several close scores that spoke to the level of competition. The team eventually lost in the elimination round by just one run.

The Week-Long Experience also manifested one of the most memorable moments for both Arango and his athletes. It was their second game of the week and they were playing at Cal Sr.’s Yard, a favorite of many.

“It was a night game, which means that the stadium lights were on and every kid at the tournament was watching,” said Coach Arango. “It’s something the kids will never forget.”