Baseball: Falcons thrive in lower league

May 9, 2018 — by Siva Sambasivam and Rahul Vadlakonda

Senior Nathan Peng's pitching has been a key to the success of the Falcons this year in the lower league.

Falcons climb to CCS from a lower league.

Following a subpar season a year ago, the Falcon baseball team dropped down to the El Camino League this year.

That was the bad news. The good news is that with a 15-8 overall record, they have climbed to first place and are bound for CCS.

The Falcons’ success has mostly come from  huge contributions from upperclassmen. The depth of their lineup has complemented their change in style to a small-ball approach, with the team focusing on scoring runs through base hits rather than home runs.

Seniors like Robert Scott, Nathan Peng and Quinn Dozier have all been huge contributors in this year’s explosive offense. Peng leads the league in all triple crown categories, batting .552 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs. Dozier is batting .375, while Scott is hitting an even.300. In fact, the team’s depth throughout the lineup has led to a .339 batting average.

“Having a big lead makes it a lot easier for us to play defense and ultimately win games,” Scott said.

But it’s not just their offense that carries their games. Their pitching has been superb and would likely be the biggest strength on any other team without as good of an offense.

Besides playing catcher, Peng is also the ace of the pitching staff, leading the team with a 5-1 record and a 2.08 ERA. The UC Davis commit has also pitched four complete games, including two shutouts. The team’s rotation is also bolstered by junior Matthew Jacobs, who boasts a  4-2 record and a 3.34 ERA.

Despite being in the lower league this year, Scott says the team has “come a long way” from a year ago.

Looking back on the season, Peng thinks the team’s losses to opponents like Gunn and Lynbrook were games they easily could have won. Peng sees defense and striking throwing as being two areas where the Falcons could shore up their game.

Ryan Gilligan, a starting freshman on the varsity team at shortstop, said that he enjoys playing on a winning team so early on in his high school baseball career.

“It feels great, especially as a freshman, to get a chance to play on varsity and to be able to play on a team that’s doing as well as we are,” he said.

The Falcons are enjoying their winning streak while it lasts; however, they understand that the successful performance this year means that they will be moving back up a league next year. Gilligan hopes they can continue this success next year, saying that if everyone on the team puts forth “100 percent” effort like they did this year, the Falcons will continue to win ball games.

On Tuesday, the Falcons were scheduled to play a key game against Santa Clara. A win would result in the league title and a CCS berth.

(Due to printing deadlines the games against Santa Clara on May 8 and Fremont on May 10 could not be covered in this issue.)