Boys’ baseball: New coach, practice methods contribute to leading league record

April 15, 2009 — by Lyka Sethi

Guided by coaches Manny Steffen and Travis Hatfield, the Falcons are currently first in the El Camino league with a record of 6-1, as of April 14.

With more rigorous training techniques, Steffan and Hatfield have helped the boys improve, leading to league success.

“The coaches make us spend more time in the batting cages working on our fundamentals instead of just hitting on the field every day like we did last year,” said junior outfielder Grant Thomas. “It’s definitely made us improve a lot.”

Senior outfielder Marcus Lefton is hitting at .364, and both Lefton and sophomore pitcher Dillan Pak have 2 home runs. Senior pitcher Christian Biederman has performed impressively with an ERA of 1.50.

The boys exhibited their skills in a five-game winning streak, beginning on March 17 with a 3-0 win against Fremont. They then defeated Santa Clara 5-2 on March 19 and won against Lynbrook 8-5 on March 24, before going on to defeat Gunn twice; 4-3 on March 31 and 5-3 on April 2. However, they then suffered a brutal five-game losing streak when they lost all four of their games in the Lions tournament and then their game against Evergreen Valley, bringing their season record to 8-7. The team lost 0-10 to Monta Vista on April 4, 5-6 to Gilroy on April 7, 5-6 to Monterey on April 8, 10-15 to Homestead on April 10 and 3-8 to Evergreen Valley on April 14.

During the past few weeks, each of the players has made a unique contribution to the team effort. According to senior catcher Casey Farmer, among others who have been doing well are Biederman, who plays third base, and junior Bryce Dozier, who plays first base. Both Biederman and Dozier have excelled at offense and defense.

The Santa Clara game was especially exciting—the boys were losing 2-1 going into the 7th inning of the game, but ended up scoring four runs in the last inning and walking away with a 5-2 victory.

Pak, Lefton, junior outfielder Vincent Carstens, senior pitcher Joey Avery and Thomas all contributed to the win.

Farmer said the increase in committed players this season has brought about a newfound cohesiveness in the team, which has led to many more victories.

“We’ve come together a lot more this year,” said Farmer. “Our team didn’t do so well last year, and a lot of it had to do with team members who weren’t focused and determined to do well.”

The boys hope to continue their winning streak in their upcoming games so they can keep their first place in league and sail smoothly through CCS.

“We’re really hoping to do well during the next few games and tournaments,” said Thomas. “This season has been great from the start, and we want to end it that way.”

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