Varsity baseball fends off competition in league games

May 15, 2022 — by Minsui Tang & Derek Hsu
Photo by Derek Hsu
Sophomore pitcher Shane Timmons attempts to evade the catcher’s tag in the Falcons’ March 24 win against Monta Vista.
The young team undergoes both winning and losing streaks to start a long and arduous season in leagues

The varsity baseball team has begun playing in high-stakes, competitive El Camino League games, holding an overall record of 8-7 and a league record of 4-2 as of March 31. 

Coach Jason Bugg’s focus on fundamentals and defensive drills during practice has paid off with a recent three-game winning streak including key victories over Fremont 5-4 on March 31, Gunn 4-3 on March 26, and Milpitas 4-3 on March 22.

According to junior outfielder Kevin Zhao, the team’s “good mindset” encouraged them to “take care of the details” that they went over during practice and apply them in games. Their defense has gradually grown stronger over the past few games, which prompted the team to shift their focus toward hitting during practices. 

“We need to work on our confidence at the plate,” Zhao said. “If we are aggressive and aren’t afraid of strike-outs, we set ourselves up for solid hits.”

Big contributions on offense come from freshman Doug Bettinger, and seniors Derek Casini and Derek Hsu. As of March 30, Bettinger and Hsu recorded more than 10 steals each for the season. 

The main reason behind the recent wins is the stellar pitching of sophomore Shane Timmons and junior Lucas Dennis. Sophomore third baseman Nathan Lee noted that their strong performances have taken the pressure off the offense, and resulted in reasonably efficient innings with shorter at-bats. 

“Our pitchers have been locking it down on the mound,” Lee said. “We will get the hits when we can, but our pitchers are putting us in these winnable positions.”

Their most recent run over the current league champions, Fremont, has raised morale going into a two-week hiatus of no games. Players will be conditioning individually with optional batting practice after school. 

“We have all the momentum heading into the break,” Lee said. “All of us will use this time to rest and recover from our lingering injuries.”

The team’s goal remains to qualify for CCS and win the El Camino league. Future matchups against Gunn, which they split the series so far with a win and loss, are bound to be a high-pressure atmosphere for the Falcons. 

“All the pitchers have been the best players on the team,” Timmons said. “I think [we can achieve our goals by] keep doing what we’re doing: playing solid defense, locking down pitching and getting hits.”