Last spring there was quite a bit of noise behind the scenes when it came to high school baseball in Santa Clara. The Bruins junior varsity squad had a tremendous season winning their league title. Players and coaches expressed their desire to reach the same level of play that Wilcox has shown for years under Head Coach David Currie. That talk inspired a Wilcox and Santa Clara JV scrimmage at the end of last season. Wilcox would win that contest, and they would win yet again this past Saturday when the varsity teams met up in a preseason tournament game at Washington Park. While it was a tight game early, it ended in a Wilcox shutout, 11-0.
With the score still just 3-0 in the bottom of the second, Bruins’ starting pitcher and cleanup hitter Tyler Kennedy launched a towering double all the way to the wall in straight away center. The following batter tried to bunt Kennedy over, but Chargers’ first baseman Asahi Sato was crashing down hard on the play. Sato would make a diving catch on a bunt and doubled up Kennedy at second base. It was an interesting decision from Bruins’ Head Coach Brett Hall to keep the bunt sign on with Sato crashing hard; the bunt would have had to have been perfect in order to advance him to third.
Had the Bruins played a little stronger defense in the first few innings and had Kennedy been knocked home after his leadoff double, the game could have very easily been a 2-1 or 1-1 game through the first four innings. On the mound, Kennedy struggled with his command at times, but managed to limit the damage.
“First couple innings I didn’t feel like I had as much command with all my pitches,” admitted Kennedy after the game. “Further into the game though I felt like I had good command of everything.”
The Bruins knew they had to play clean baseball in order to beat Wilcox and too many self-inflicted mistakes cost them, even before the game got out of hand.
“We made some fundamental mistakes on the bases, we ran ourselves out of the inning offensively,” remarked coach Hall. “Defensively we need to pound the zone more with our pitchers.”
On the flip side of things, the Chargers welcomed the opportunity to get some of their younger players playing time. In particular, Alex Tolbert, a strong hitter from last year’s JV team got into the game and delivered a big three-RBI double. Tolbert may not be starting for the Chargers, but he’s a guy that coach Currie would love to have swinging a hot bat to add to his team’s depth this season.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but I put [Tolbert] on deck a couple of times,” said coach Currie on his first-year varsity hitter. “When he did get up to the plate, it was a situation I knew I wanted to get him in and he came through with the bases loaded.”
As for the regulars, the Chargers’ current No. 3 hitter is junior Alex Adame. The left hander has a sweet powerful swing and is off to a nice start this season, squaring up the ball nicely.
“I was just looking for a ball to drive, got a nice middle-in fastball,” recalled Adame on his first inning RBI double against the Bruins. “[Kennedy] and I are friends and I’ve faced him in travel ball. It’s pretty funny because we talk smack to each other all the time and so getting that hit off him felt pretty good.”
Both schools will play a few more preseason games before Santa Clara opens up league play March 16 against Monta Vista and Wilcox on March 14 against Milpitas.