Two days after being shut out by Los Gatos’s ace pitcher on Wednesday, the Santa Clara Bruins bats came to life on Friday, scoring 10 runs in their home rematch with the Wildcats. The offensive breakout was a welcomed sight for the 5-8 Santa Clara team. The Bruins are playing in the tougher De Anza league after moving up from the El Camino League where they last played a full season in 2019. Unfortunately for Santa Clara fans, the squad also conceded 18 runs on Friday afternoon.
“The El Camino is much less competitive compared to this,” said Bruins Head Coach Brad Comstock. “It’s a big mental game [for our pitchers] because they used to be able to miss their spots and still get outs. If you miss your spot here, the guy will hit it 400 feet.”
While the Bruins pitching staff is struggling to adjust to the higher level of competition, a number of the position players seem to be adjusting quicker at the plate. Most notably on that list of players is junior shortstop Jayce Dobie. One of the two captains on the team alongside senior DJ Evans, Dobie leads the Bruins in batting average at .439 and in slugging percentage at .707. With seven doubles and two triples, Dobie’s nine extra-base hits are almost double the second highest mark on the team. Jordan Montez is second with five.
“He’s by far my best hitter, by far my best infielder” praised Comstock on Dobie. “He’s a team leader through and through. He’s also just a really good kid.”
In Friday’s loss Dobie went 4-for-5, with a double and a triple, and all of his contact, even the out he made was extremely loud.
“I actually struggled in the previous game, I went 0-3,” admitted the humble Dobie. “I was watching my at bats and was seeing that I wasn’t getting my [front] foot down. And my mom helped me recognize that. So, on Friday I was just trying to get my foot down quicker and I think it helped.”
Going 4-for-5 on the day, I think it’s more than safe to say that mom’s advice definitely helped. Dobie wasn’t the only key offensive figure for the Bruins though. The aforementioned Evans was also an on base machine. Evans smoked a pair of singles in his first two at bats and was a presence in the middle of the order all afternoon.
“He’s just an all around solid player,” said Dobie on Evans. The two actually played together dating back to Little League. In fact, a large majority of the Bruins roster played together at Westside Little League in Santa Clara. The camaraderie with guys like Kailan Chao, Orlando Lewis and Montez, among others, has allowed for some solid team chemistry.
“These kids don’t ever get down,” said Comstock. “We may be 1-7 in league, but they come out to practice every day and work hard. They always fight. That’s never a question with this group.”