The Santa Clara Bruins beat the Leland Chargers on Saturday with some old school flavor. Starting pitcher Sebastian McMahon allowed just one run, a solo home run, in a superb 5 and one-third innings on the mound. He did so while donning the high stirrup sock look, a rare sight in 2023.
“I wore them last year, and I like the look, so I just stuck with it,” chuckled McMahon when asked about the stirrups. “Home games I wear the stirrups, away games I wear the stripes.”
The stirrup-wearing McMahon used excellent command of his fastball and a slider to keep the Leland Chargers off-balance. Outside of the solo home run allowed in the third, the Leland Chargers never had anything going offensively against the Bruins’ ace.
On the flip side, the Bruins were all over the bases seemingly every inning en route to what would be a 5-1 victory. With a little better luck hitting with runners in scoring position, the Bruins could have turned this game into a blowout. Nonetheless, they got key contributions up and down the lineup, but the key guys at the top led the way.
Leadoff man Conner Houle went three for three with a walk and an RBI double. He came around to score in the first inning on an RBI knock by cleanup hitter Austin Sands. In the second inning, Houle drove a line drive double down the left field line, increasing the Bruins lead to 3-0.
“I had a good outing today at the plate for sure, I felt confident and on time with my swings,” chimed Houle on how he felt at the plate. “I was seeing the ball well and was able to go three for three today, so I was happy with that performance.”
Second place batter Andrew Traffas was also on the bases multiple times, although not the way one would prefer. Traffas was beaned twice for free passes. Three hitter Orlando Lewis was also a focal point in a rally with a nice line drive hit to left center field.
Despite all their base runners, the Bruins needed a clutch inning on the mound from John Kepner who relieved McMahon in the sixth. Up by just three runs, Kepner came in with runners on first and second and only one out and shut the door. He would finish the game with a solid five outs of work.
The Bruins now improve to 9-11 overall and remain 2-6 in league play, as this was a non-league victory. Santa Clara has dropped four games this season by one run. The team knows they are just a play away from being at or above 500 both overall and in league.
“We’re 9-11 now, but we’re better than that,” affirmed Bruins Skipper Pedro Martinez. “Those are tough teams we’ve played. Also, context, two balls smoked to left field, one against Palo Alto that we thought was a double or home run and the left fielder made an incredible catch that saved two runs. And then against Los Altos, same thing, line drive with guys on base that would have done damage but was right at the left fielder. Just some bad luck, bad luck.”
The Bruins now get the chance to turn that luck around against crosstown rivals, the Wilcox Chargers, on Wednesday and Friday.