Freshman on varsity adapts to high-level ball

April 27, 2019 — by Isaac Le and Andrew Li

Stepping up to the plate against Mountain View earlier this year, freshman Kaito Haake was feeling mixed emotions. He was nervous but also excited to get a shot at playing varsity baseball. A couple of pitches went over the plate, but he waited for the best one before taking his first swing. His hit resulted in a ground ball up the middle of the field, a single.

This year, Haake is the only freshman selected on the varsity team. Haake has loved baseball ever since he joined Saratoga Little League at the age of 4. He continued to play for the Saratoga Little League teams until he turned 11, when he joined the 14U Top Flight Elite travel baseball team.

Last summer, Haake practiced with the Top Flight Elite team, where he trained with specialized coaches over the summer. His competitive baseball experience at Top Flight Elite helped him make the varsity baseball team in his freshman year.

“I did a lot of offseason training with the [school] team before the season started, and I also played my heart out during practices and scrimmages,” said Haake.

Sophomore middle infielder and pitcher Philbert Fan explained the benefits Haake, who plays pitcher, third baseman and outfielder, brought to the team.

“Haake is a young player who brings a lot of energy to the team,” Fan said. “He works hard and impacts the team in a positive way not only with his bat and glove, but also with his good teamwork.”

Haake said playing on varsity is an excellent opportunity to improve his skills. Haake continues to feel the pressure to perform at this competitive level, but he credits the upperclassman for easing his transition.

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of the juniors, seniors and sophomores, and I’m so thankful for how kind they have been to me,” Haake said.

Junior outfielder Talon Sisco had other positive things to say about Haake. “I know it's hard being a freshman on varsity because you have to get used to the tempo, and that is why I needed my years on JV to get used to it. He has some things to work on, but he is a great addition to the team,” Sisco said.

With only eight games remaining, the team has an overall record of 5-14 and a conference record of 1-10. They are currently sitting at second to last place in the more competitive De Anza League.

The Falcons broke a six-game losing streak after beating Monta Vista on April 20 with a 10-6 score. The losing streak consisted of a 24-6 loss on April 3 to the first-place Los Altos, 6-1 to Los Altos on April 4, 16-6 against Branham on April 12, 21-2 to Aptos on April 13, a close 4-3 defeat at the hands of Gunn on April 16, a 29-1 blowout loss to rival Los Gatos on April 17 and a 12-0 shutout against Los Gatos on April 19. They also lost to Palo Alto on April 24 14-0.

They faced Palo Alto on April 26, and closed out their season with a game against Pioneer on April 30 and two final ones against Wilcox on May 1 and 3.

“I feel like we have established a team motto of not caring if we win, but rather improving together as a team. I am excited for next year, and I think we have good things coming,” Sisco said.

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