The Santa Clara Bruins baseball team is currently jockeying for position at the top of the El Camino League standings. A top-two finish which would guarantee a spot in the postseason.
With an 8-3 record Santa Clara is firmly in the second place at the moment. However, Thursday’s disappointing 7-1 loss at Monta Vista has opened the door for the Matadors (6-5) with four league games left to play. Earlier in the week, Santa Clara won an emotional 6-3 game over first-place Gunn (10-2) to pull within a game of first place. The energy from that big win seemed to be missing on Thursday.
“We had a big game on Tuesday. We won it and we won it convincingly. That hurt us,” said Bruins Head Coach Brad Comstock after the 7-1 loss. “[That hurt us,] in the way that today we had a let down. Our warmups today were not good. It just wasn’t there. We’re not CCS ready yet.”
Monta Vista started a pitcher that Santa Clara had seen earlier this season. The Bruins split a two-game series with the Matadors back in March, but that experience didn’t pay off in the form of any consistent offense. Now, in the case of a tie in the standings, the Matadors own the tiebreaker with the better head-to-head record.
The lone RBI for the Bruins on Thursday came the way of shortstop Ryan Oeschger, who connected for a sharp single through the five-and-a-half hole to score Jake Millett from second. Millett had reached by the way of a hit by pitch and advanced to second on a sharp single from Justin Cedro.
“I was just trying to take out all my anger on the ball,” said Oeschger on his RBI knock. “We knew that he was alternating pitches: fastball, curveball. I was swinging at whatever pitch I saw first so I could get all that anger out. I swung as hard as I could and got it through the infield.”
With the lack of energy in the dugout, one wouldn’t have known the team was having a great season.
“The effort could have been better for sure,” added Oeschger. “The finger pointing was bad today. We just fell apart after they put up that five spot to go up 5-0 early in the game.”
Santa Clara will look to bounce back and keep control of their playoff destiny over these final few games. On Thursday, May 2 they will take on Lynbrook at home at Washington Park. On May 7th is a rematch with first-place Gunn.
Considering c only managed to score one earned run in that 6-3 loss to the Bruins, one can only expect the Titans to come out extra motivated to not only avenge the loss, but perhaps that game will determine who wins the El Camino league outright. A league title would be a significant milestone for both schools.
Santa Clara’s final league game will come on May 9 when they play at Milpitas.