Falcons struggle with starting pitching, look for defense to improve chances March 31, 2010 — by Roy Bisht and David Eng Permalink At every level of baseball, from Little League to the Majors, pitching is considered to be the most important aspect of the game and the key to victory. However, for the first time in the past few years, the Falcons are being forced to compete with an inexperienced group of pitchers. After losing most of last year’s pitching staff to graduation and seeing this year’s projected ace, senior Vincent Carstens, out for the season with a torn labrum, the Falcons lack depth on the mound. Junior Dillan Pak has stepped up to fill in the void left by Carstens, with senior Grant Thomas and junior Yoonbin Kim filling out the starting rotation. Freshman Stephen Ruff has also been promoted to varsity to provide more pitching depth. In addition, now that the team has moved from the lower El Camino Division to the more competitive De Anza league, the pitching staff will face more experienced and talented hitters. Early in league play, the Falcon pitching staff struggled, losing in blowout fashion to Palo Alto 16-2 on March 20, Wilcox 17-2 on March 19 and Palo Alto 16-4 on March 10. However, the Falcons believe that they can overcome the lack of pitching experience by instead improving their defense in the outfield. “This year, the ball is going to be put into play and [our opponents] will be able to hit the ball very hard, so our defense will need to be ready and our pitching will need to learn how to compete,” said Thomas. However, after starting off the season strong defensively, the Falcons have struggled with their gloves lately. Of the 95 runs that Saratoga has allowed this season, only 66 of them have been earned, meaning that Falcon errors in the field have cost the team 29 extra runs, or almost 3 free runs per game. Even though they have had a rough start to the season, the Falcons are determined to get back on their feet and have set their eyes on the prize: CCS Playoffs. In order to reach that goal, the team is working harder on being more focused while on the field. “Some people have been taking better approaches during games, and others have been lazy and their productivity has been regressing, but everybody is capable of doing well in this league, and it all comes down to who wants it the most,” said Thomas.