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Bruins Baseball Opens 2024 Season in Impressive Fashion 

The rain held off on Monday evening for the Santa Clara Bruins baseball team’s opening game of the season. Taking on Half Moon Bay in the opener of the Ted J. Tamone Memorial Tournament, the Bruins cruised to an eventual 16-2 thrashing of the Cougars.

It was a tight game early, though, as Santa Clara wouldn’t pull away until the bottom of the fourth. While the game was still in the balance, three Bruins stood out in particular. Juniors Drew Diffenderfer, Andrew Traffas and Charles Conley were the backbone of the team’s performance through the first few innings.

Diffenderfer started on the mound for the Bruins and held the Cougars scoreless in his three innings of work. One of his handful of strikeouts was particularly impressive, where he beautifully pitched the batter backwards. Diffenderfer got ahead 0-2 with a pair of perfectly placed sliders before blowing the batter away with a fastball.

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“Drew is a stud on the mound and has command of multiple pitches, which at this level, is vital to being able to pitch backwards and throw any pitch in any count,” praised Bruins Head Coach Pedro Martinez. “We have a deep pitching staff this year and he’s definitely working towards being our ace.”

The right-handed throwing Diffenderfer was working with Conley as his batterymate behind the plate, who put on a show defensively from the catcher position. Not only did Conley demonstrate textbook blocking form all game long, he also made an impressive tag for an out at home plate on a throw from left fielder Timothy Stampolis.

Conley didn’t stop there as he also backpicked a runner at third base to end the top of the fourth inning, an inning in which the Bruins had fallen apart with some bad defense, allowing the Cougars to tie the game at 2-2.

Conley’s backpick at third clearly stopped the Cougars’ momentum and put it right back in the Bruins dugout as Santa Clara dropped a seven spot in its half of the fourth to put the game away at 9-2.

“Charles is a dawg back there,” added Martinez on his starting catcher. “He’s another one of our many great players from our junior class. He puts in lots of work to take over this pitching staff and be our wall back there.”

While Conley and Diffenderfer led the way stopping the Cougars’ offense, it was Traffas who led the Bruins’ offense. The Bruins were facing a left-handed starter, and Traffas is a left-handed batter, so it was a tough matchup in theory. However, the Bruins shortstop went two-for-two with a pair of singles off the Cougars’ starter.

“Traffas has worked his tail off all offseason. He’s been hitting the weight room hard in my class and outside of class, too,” noted Martinez. “He has made it a point of emphasis to take his game to the next level and be a D1 player. He’s also worked his way with his arm strength to become one of our shortstops this season. Can’t say enough about his work ethic and what a great all-around person he is.”

The Bruins will continue on in this tournament and then play three additional non-league games before opening league play against Monta Vista on March 7.

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1 Comment
  1. Yay sports 4 months ago
    Reply

    Since SCUSD loves successful HS sports teams, maybe they should be doing more to support our local non-profit youth sports organizations! They add more to our community than the credit they are given, fulfilling a community need SCUSD isn’t.

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