Santa Clara catcher Noah Dembowski’s one-out single in the bottom of the seventh saved the Bruins from being no-hit on Monday night. The line drive just past the diving second baseman was a minor saving grace in what was otherwise a game against Menlo that the Bruins would like to forget.
“We just came out flat. Our energy was low today,” said Bruins’ shortstop and three hitter Ryan Oeschger. “We came out flat, simple as that.”
Perhaps part of the reason the Bruins started the game on a lethargic note was because they opened the game without their typical leadoff man in the speedy Connor Valory.
“He missed the Saturday practice, he went to LMU for a school thing, but our team rule is if you aren’t there to practice the day before a game, you don’t start,” said Bruins Head Coach Brad Comstock. “But then I screwed up putting him in for Marc [Lujan], because when I put Marc back into the game I had to take Connor out. That one was on me. Missing Connor was a huge thing, he leads the team in average as our leadoff hitter.”
“He’s one of our captains, so not having our starting leadoff hitter is a little different,” remarked Dembowski on missing Valory. “There are no excuses, though, we should have played better ball.”
In the Bruins defense, they are a “B-league” team and were facing an “A-league division” team in Menlo. Santa Clara came into the game riding a four-game winning streak in their league, which, as Comstock noted, is nowhere near the same level of A divisions.
“Their pitcher was throwing a good game, he’s probably their ace pitcher,” added coach Comstock. “That’s what happens when you face a team in A-league. Like I told the guys after the game, I said, ‘we didn’t come to play today.’ We thought because we had won four in a row in our league, which is not in the same caliber as theirs, it means diddly squat.”
Santa Clara tried to counter with their own ace in Zach Penrod. The senior limited the damage in a tough top of the first to just two runs. A controversial missed call on a Menlo steal attempt in the top of the fourth though changed the game. Had the out call been made, the Bruins would likely get out of the inning unscathed. Instead, the Knights tacked on two more runs to extend the lead to 4-0. The Knights would add a fifth run in the sixth and would go on to win by a 5-0 final.
The Bruins will dive back into league play on Tuesday, April 9 against Milpitas.