For the Santa Clara Bruins’ baseball squad, the 2018 season has been a struggle coming out of the winter hibernation period. While the March rains haven’t helped the young squad with multiple rainouts, a 1-9 overall record and 0-3 start in league play is not the wake up call they thought they would need.
“We’re trying to keep a positive attitude with them,” confirmed Bruins’ Pitching Coach Al Bonvicino after Monday’s 10-0 loss in a non-league contest at Cupertino. “We’re trying to encourage them and go up there and take their hacks, do the best they can. A game like today, I’ll admit, it was tough. We got to try to keep that positive vibe and that’s what we just talked about right now in our postgame. We have to keep plugging away. We’re in a little funk right now, and once we come out of this funk I think we will be ok.”
Santa Clara has a number of players who moved up from junior varsity to varsity this season. Coaches Bonvicino and Pedro Martinez have also moved up to the varsity level with them, joining first-year Head Coach Brett Hall.
“These kids are adjusting, getting used to the level of play at the varsity level,” acknowledged coach Bonvicino. “Even as coaches, we’re making adjustments too. The level is much harder up here. Pedro, Brett and I, we’re a new staff. We have to stay positive and keep these guys positive. Varsity is a different animal than JV and these kids are learning.”
One of the bright spots for Santa Clara against Cupertino was junior center fielder Jake Millet who drove a nice hit into the right-center field gap in the fifth.
“It was the first pitch in the at bat, a fastball middle away,” recalled Millet on his single. “At that point in the game I just wanted to swing at anything close and get on base.”
Unfortunately for the Bruins, Millet was thrown out at second base trying to stretch the single into a double.
Millet is one of the many players moving up to varsity including Noah Dembowski, Ryan Oeschger, Connor Valory and Alijah Amaya. The new crop has big shoes to fill with graduating varsity seniors from last year in No. 3 hitter Pako Vehikite and pitcher Brandon Mungaray.
The Bruins do still have Brandon Mungaray’s younger brother Bailey Mungaray playing this year. A football star, Bailey Mungaray is getting back into baseball after a few years away from the sport. Coach Martinez said he has liked his game in the outfield tracking down balls, like he does wide receivers on the football field as a defensive back. Coach Martinez also mentioned he has been hitting line drives at the plate that have been finding gloves to start the season. Once they start falling, the Bruins might be able to get rolling.
Weather permitting, the Bruins will next play in a league matchup this Thursday, March 22 against Gunn up in Palo Alto.