Boys’ Baseball: Falcons clinch league title for baseball but fall short at CCS

May 29, 2009 — by Karthik Annaamalai and Abhi Venkataramana

Although roster size has always been a problem for varsity baseball coach Manny Steffen, the dedication and perseverance of his players never has. Despite having fewer players than most teams, the team managed to clinch the El Camino League’s division title, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by Saratoga since 1994. They sealed the deal with a 5-3 home win over the Fremont Firebirds on May 7.

The team looked to do even better at their first CCS game against Monterey on May 21. In order to combat the lack of players, Steffen promoted freshmen Thomas Ishikawa, Matthew Ishikawa, Kushal Raj, Roy Bisht and Eric Wang from JV to varsity for the game in hopes that they could add more depth.

“I was really excited when [the coach] told me I was getting pulled up,” said T. Ishikawa. “It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun playing with the varsity guys.”

However, the new additions to the team weren’t enough to help the team win at CCS. They ended up losing 3-0 to Monterey after Monterey managed to score three runs late in the seventh inning.

“We played very well the whole game,” said sophomore first baseman Greg Johnson. “It was tied 0-0 going into the sixth inning, but then we made some errors which cost us the game. I was proud of the team but at the same time a little disappointed because I knew we could have won.”

Although the team was disappointed that they could not fulfill their expectations of advancing in CCS, the Falcons came a long way from last season and has improved substantially, said Steffen. Though the Falcons only had 13 active players for the majority of the season, the team had a 12-3 league record.

The team hopes to build off this season’s success and carry it into next year. However, the team will have some big holes to fill next year as they will be losing seven seniors to graduation. Senior pitcher Christian Biederman especially impacted the team 56 strike outs and a 6-2 pitching record. Senior Marcus Lefton led the team’s offense with a strong batting average of .367 and 20 RBIs. But with standout performances this season, juniors Grant Thomas and Jonathon Hurrel and sophomores Gregory Johnson and Dillan Pak could potentially fill some of these holes and lead the team to even more success next season.

“All the juniors and sophomores have experience now, which will definitely help our team,” said Johnson. “Next year, we can use this year’s success as a starting point and hopefully continue it into next year.”

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