Baseball adjusts to changes all around the diamond

March 16, 2010 — by Roy Bisht and David Eng

Major League Baseball is a game of transactions.

The constant waiving, releasing and signing of players and coaches epitomizes the continual change of team sports.

This past off season, the Falcons’ baseball program underwent some major changes of its own. Among the changes were a league promotion, new coaches and roster swaps.
Movin’ on up

After posting a stellar 12-3 record last season in the lower El Camino Division, the young baseball program will face tougher competition this year in the upper De Anza Division.

Last year’s team outscored El Camino division opponents 105-46, an average margin of victory of nearly four runs per game.

The Falcons will have a tough time replicating that success this season, though, as last season they went 4-8 in non-league play, including an mediocre 0-3 record against teams they will play in league this year. Saratoga lost those games by an average of over six runs per game. Tough opponents include Palo Alto, Wilcox and Monta Vista.

“There are a lot of tough teams in our league, and if we compete, we can come out on top, but the league is pretty talented, so we will have to play at a higher level than last year to compete with them,” said senior outfielder and co-captain Grant Thomas.
Coaching staff shuffled

While second-year varsity head coach Manny Steffen and his assistant coach Earl Charles will be back for another season, not much else stayed the same on the coaching front.

Steffen hired a new set of varsity assistant coaches Anthony Siri and Matt Arensberg to fill the void left by Travis Hatfield, who resigned to pursue an amateur baseball career at West Valley College.

Even though it took some time to adjust to the coaching changes, players such as senior outfielder Jon Hurrell believe that the team is in good shape.

“Our coaches are very serious about winning. One advantage for our team is that we have a strong coaching staff, and they have the knowledge to help us win at the upper league,” said Hurrell.
Injuries, young talent prompt roster swaps

The team will feature lots of new faces this year, with just five returning varsity players and seven new players, including two new underclassmen, sophomore Roy Bisht and freshman Kyle Dozier. Bisht will provide preimer defense at the middle infield positions and Dozier will hit leadoff. The team will also carry two new seniors, Andy Berman and John Chen, who did not play last season. Berman figures to be a huge power threat in the middle of the Falcons’ lineup and Chen will bolster the pitching rotation.

This major roster revamp came about as a result of seven graduating seniors on last year’s roster. For the Falcons to succeed, Saratoga pitching will have to regain its footing after the team lost five of last year’s primary seven hurlers to graduation. The Falcons suffered a major blow when projected ace senior Vinnie Carstens and freshman pitcher Stevie Berman each underwent season-ending surgeries to repair arm injuries.

Picking up the slack will be junior Dillan Pak, who will also play shortstop for Saratoga.

“We have a young roster this year, so we may have some ups and downs, but as the season goes on, we can only get better, and that shows that we have the potential for not only a strong season but also a strong future,” said Thomas.

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