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Bruins Battle Back, But Fall to Menlo

A young Santa Clara Bruins baseball team proved themselves capable of hanging with more veteran teams on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins, a team moving up from the El Camino League this year into the De Anza division, features only five seniors. Taking on Menlo High School, a team with 12 seniors, the Bruins hung tough through the first five innings.

Starting pitcher, senior Marc Lujan kept the game close at just 4-0. Santa Clara’s offense struggled to get much going against the Knights’ ace, but with Menlo’s starter out of the game after five innings, the Bruins began to inch back. Sophomore shortstop Jayce Dobie got the Bruins on the board in the top of the sixth with an RBI single in a hit-and-run situation. What would have been a double-play ball straight to shortstop found the left field grass with the shortstop having vacated his position to cover second base.

Trailing 4-1 heading into their last at bats in the seventh, Santa Clara would drop a three-run barrage to tie the game. A couple of misplayed balls by the Knights’ left fielder aided the Bruins rally, but clean, hard-hit line drives by junior Carson Tamone and sophomore Nicholas LoForti drove in the tying runs.

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The top of the seventh would end with the scored tied 4-4. Unfortunately for the Bruins’ faithful, the Knights would respond with a walkoff single in the bottom half of the inning to win 5-4. Despite the loss, the late rally against an older, more experienced squad is certainly a game that can help springboard Santa Clara into the upcoming league season.

“Yes, we can,” responded LoForti when asked if the team can learn any lessons from the comeback and use them moving forward. “The way we played in the sixth and seventh inning is the way we should play from the first through the seventh.”

Bruins Head Coach Brad Comstock agreed that his team can take positive momentum from their late rally to tie the game, but hedged a bit, acknowledging that the loss definitely stings.

“It is [a game we can take positives from], but at the same time it is very, very heartbreaking too,” remarked Comstock. “They’re such a young group. I have eight sophomores on this team. A game like this, you just don’t know how they are going to react. We will see. We have played two tough games so far and been in both of them.”

Santa Clara will look to build off their comeback with more non-league games against Lincoln on March 3, Del Mar on March 5, Branham on March 7, Menlo-Atherton on March 10, Fremont on March 11 and Willow Glen on March 14. All told the eight non-league games will lead into the league opening series against Cupertino on March 18 and 20. It will be a tall task for the young Bruins team moving up from the “B” division to the “A” division, but the underdog attitude could serve them well.

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