Baseball team tries to find groove

April 2, 2017 — by Victor Liu, Navin Tiwary, Vivien Zhang, and Jason Zhao

As the ball sailed over the fence on March 27, the Falcons watched in frustration as Palo Alto scored four runs in one play: a grand slam. The Viking went on to win in a 12-2 rout.

Up until the sixth inning, the Falcons, only down by two runs, were still in game. But in the last two innings, the Falcons made several fielding errors and allowed too many walks.

“There’s always one big error that extends the inning longer than it should go,” junior outfielder Chris Auches said. “This leads to more errors as the other team picks up momentum. After that, we lose it and start not wanting the ball.”

With the defense not pulling through, the Falcons tried to make up for it at the plate. However, they tried to go for the big, ambitious hits but just became impatient and ended up popping out a lot.

“We didn’t stick to our approach at the plate: ground balls or just hitting the ball up the middle,” Auches said. “The pop ups made it easy for the other team because there is no fielding involved.”

The Falcons had a similar result on March 25 in a game against King’s Academy that ended in an 11-2 defeat.

The game started well for the Falcons, as junior pitcher Nathan Peng scored one run in the first inning, but the Kings pulled away by the end of the first inning, leading 5-1.

“We started off solid, but as the match progressed we suffered severe setbacks from their skilled hitters as well as poor team coordination,” Peng said.

By the end of the sixth inning, the Knights held a 10-run lead, with the score at 11-1. Peng scored one consolation run for the Falcons in the final inning of the game.

The team has been having mixed results in games, performing well in one game but having a poor performance in the next.

On March 17, Saratoga defeated Los Altos 6-2. The game also marked the last game the Falcons played with Drake Swezy as their assistant coach, who had recently accepted an offer to play baseball in Germany; this fired up the players’ spirits.

The team was led by a strong performance by sophomore pitcher Matt Jacobs, who only allowed six hits over five innings and, and got a home run from senior first-baseman Tony Ramirez.

They also won in a 11-2 landslide against Lincoln on March 4, boosting the players’ confidence, prompting them to work harder in the next few games.

“We had not won a game before, so the first win of the season always feels good, especially because it was at home,” Peng said.

A series of 13 strikeouts from Peng led to the Falcons’ blowout win. In addition, the Falcons pressured the Mustangs scored in every inning and played seamless defense.

As the season passes the halfway point, the Falcons have an overall record of 3-10-1.

With the graduation of key players like alumni Tyler Yoshihara, Michael Schillage and Ryan Casini in addition to some seniors and juniors deciding not to join the team this year, the Falcons are stretched thin. Some players have had to learn new positions, contributing to the weak defense.

In addition, senior center-fielder Jonathan Yun attributes the team’s inconsistent play to adjusting period to this year’s new coach, Sean Hodson. The players have had to spend the season thus far adjusting to the Hodson’s different philosophies, and the players have been taught to relearn the techniques they were taught last season.

“In baseball, the coaches decide everything. They call the pitches and give sides on offense,” Yun said. “Hopefully, once we [adapt to them] we can beat any other team in the league.”