The Briarwood All Stars were locked in a 0-0 pitching duel through the first four innings on Monday. While the Briarwood bats were slow to wake up, starting pitcher Jared Cabildo kept Los Altos off the board until the lumber could rise to the occasion. Briarwood would eventually drop the hammer with a seven-run fifth inning, started off by none other than Nikhil Somanchi. The No. 9 hitter led the inning off with his second of three walks on the night, displaying a Brandon Belt-like eye at the plate.
“That’s crucial, that’s big right there,” chimed Briarwood Manager Jermaine Mitchell on Somanchi’s walks. “Nikhil has a great eye, great hitter. Even coaching against him during the season, he’s one of those guys who will sting you to the right side, driving the ball to right-center field. He has a really great eye, took some good pitches. He looks at walks as being just as good as a base hit.”
Somanchi would be out at second base on a fielder’s choice, but effectively it was his run that would come around to score the first run of the game. Matthew Tiendas would score on a wild pitch with bases loaded and two outs with Toby Esqueda at the plate. Esqueda would promptly add two more runs with a two-RBI, line-drive double to extend the lead to 3-0.
“I got a low-and-outside fastball and just tried to barrel it up,” noted Esqueda on his clutch extra-base knock. “It felt really good on the bat because I didn’t really feel anything on my hands, which means I got the sweet spot of the barrel on it.”
Briarwood would tack on four more runs in the inning, but the Esqueda double essentially put the game away considering how Cabildo and eventually Noah Pang were pitching for the visitors.
“I was confident out there on the mound, I knew my team could hit, I just kept throwing strikes and letting my defense work behind me,” noted Cabildo. “My fastball was hitting its spots and my cutter was dancing like it should be.”
“Anytime Jared is on the mound, you know he’s going to hold it down and have great pitch location,” added Mitchell on his starting pitcher. “He had a low pitch count and threw strikes, after five innings he was still under 50 pitches.”
Briarwood will next play Wednesday against rival Westside for the right to move onto the championship round in the double-elimination tournament. The loser will then have to win one game in the loser’s bracket to get a chance at revenge in the championship.