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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Baseball struggles with young roster and inconsistent execution 

Angela Tan
Junior Doug Bettinger pitches during a home game against Santa Clara on March 21.

When the game was tied 1-1 in the fifth inning at home against Mountain View on March 23, the Falcons defense collapsed when infielders were unable to turn what looked like a double play. With new life, Mountain View mounted a rally that included a run-scoring single and a grand slam off junior pitcher Aiden Chen. The result: a 6-1 deficit following the fateful inning.

The Falcons, unable to recover, ultimately lost 8-1 to the Spartans. Chen, who earlier in the year threw a no-hitter, thinks  their biggest weakness has been  consistency on defense. The offense’s performance tends to fluctuate more and there have been some explosive innings throughout their games.

“We seem to struggle making routine plays, such as fielding routine ground balls, catching fly balls and making throws to bases,” Chen said. “It’s frustrating because the group has a lot of potential and it’s clear that we can [play] better. I think we don’t take enough pride in playing catch.”

After the team lost five players to graduation and two key projected starters — senior pitcher Shane Timmons and sophomore outfielder Trenton Welsh — both transferred to Los Gatos, the Falcons were left with only enough players to field a varsity roster. Of the 21-player roster, only eight are upperclassmen, giving numerous freshmen consistent playing time.

“It’s a lot different [to play high school baseball], but it’s cool because I get to know everyone more,”  freshman catcher Ryan Gangemi said. “A lot of the juniors and seniors are the leaders, so they teach us all the rules and help us out when we don’t know what’s happening.”

Out of the current freshmen, senior first base Abhinav Kiran has observed that both Gangemis — Ryan and his brother Nicholas — and outfielder Justice Andrews will be key players in future seasons.

With a 7-6 away loss at  Lynbrook on March 28, a 5-3 home win over Monta Vista on March 26 and a 14-0 home loss to Santa Clara on March 21, the baseball team stands third in the El Camino League with a 4-3 record as of March 28. Additionally, they have played five non-league games: an 8-1 loss to Mountain View, a 13-1 loss to Wilcox, a 7-6 loss to Menlo, an 8-6 loss to Lynbrook and a 10-0 loss to Los Gatos.

The team will continue their season and play at home against Milpitas on April 2, away to Fremont on April 4 and away to Santa Clara  on April 16.

“[The best part of playing baseball] is talking and going to school with teammates, because a lot of them are good friends now and it’s great to get to know a lot of people,” Ryan Gangemi said.

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