The Santa Clara Briarwood All Stars appear poised to advance to the elimination round for District 44 after winning their third-straight game to open pool play. After beating both Mountain View on June 20 and rival Westside on June 23, Briarwood held onto a nail-biting 2-1 win over Sunnyvale on Monday.
Noah Pang pitched a complete game and Briarwood pushed across just enough runs of support.
“Oh man, today he was lights out,” remarked Briarwood Manager Jermaine Mitchell on his ace. “He’s one of those pitchers who is kind of like a video game for me. He’s a pitcher who can work backwards and keep them off balance. A lot of times with two strikes batters are expecting a curveball for the third pitch. So instead we went curveball, curveball, fastball.”
“Noah did awesome, his pitches were really working today. All of his offspeed pitches were phenomenal,” added first baseman Matthew Tiendas. “He also blew his fastball by a couple of batters too.”
Tiendas and White Sox teammate Jared Cabildo were two of the big stars of the game to go along with Pang’s pitching performance. Tiendas went 2-3 with a double and a walk and scored both of Briarwood’s runs. Cabildo also had a nice day at the plate, going 2-2 with a double and a walk, but it was his defense at third base on tough plays ranging to his left that really stood out.
“I like to help out my team on those plays, I knew it was going to be a hard play for the shortstop,” recalled Cabildo on his defensive brilliance. “So I knew I had to cut the ball off.”
“Jared is a lengthy guy and he gets good reads on the ball,” chimed Mitchell. “Those are key plays right there. If those balls get by him, it’s a different ball game with runners on base and more pitches for Noah. But Jared made those plays and gets our guys pumped up.”
Briarwood would score their first run on a sacrifice fly in the third with Pang smoking a line drive to right. Tiendas would tag up and score after reaching via a leadoff walk. Briarwood proceeded to add to their lead on a bases-loaded strikeout with two outs. The third strike got past the catcher, allowing all four runners to advance safely. It was a rather fitting run gifted to the visitors considering Briarwood had three runners tagged out at home throughout the game. All three were close plays, one or two of them easily could have gone the other way.
“I’m definitely an aggressive-thinking coach, we have a lot of team speed and we’re gonna run,” admitted Mitchell. “We try to make the other team’s players make the plays and their center fielder made two great throws. I believe the first time we got under that tag, maybe with better luck we at least get one of those three.”
Briarwood will close out pool play on Wednesday, June 27 at home against Cupertino as they attempt to secure first place in their bracket.