The Mountain View Spartans (11-4-1, 4-3) busted the game open with a six-run fourth inning, but their two-run first inning rally was all they needed to knock off Wilcox (8-9, 3-5) on Friday. Mountain View shutout the Chargers 8-0, returning the favor after Wilcox shut them out 5-0 on Wednesday. On Friday’s rematch, Spartans senior starting pitcher Bryan Rau used a heavy dose of curve balls, particularly on the first pitch, stealing first-pitch strikes.
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“Overall our philosophy is not to swing at a breaking pitch unless you have to,” explained Chargers Head Coach Dave Currie. “Most high school hitters are better fastball hitters than offspeed. If you get an offspeed pitch over and throw your fastball for strikes, you’re going to be successful in high school.”
Through the first five innings the Chargers mustered just two hits off Rau. First baseman Alexander Adame crushed a first inning double into the gap in right center and shortstop Paul Rosa connected on a solid line drive single into left field in the third.
“I was just trying to be relaxed and let the ball get deep because I’ve been early lately,” commented Rosa on his approach going into his third-inning at bat after having grounded out to leadoff the game. “He threw two curves on the first two pitches. He gave me a fastball in a 2-0 count, I was ahead in the count, he gave me a fastball and I hit it.”
Wilcox managed to load the bases in that third inning after Adame and starting pitcher Taiga Sato each drew a walk, but Nick Malvini popped up to shallow right field to end the inning. The Chargers simply could not find the big hit with runners in scoring position. It would have been ideal for Wilcox to backup Sato with some early runs, as the Chargers pitcher struggled with location in that first inning.
“He looked good in the bullpen, but he didn’t get used to the mound,” noted Coach Currie on his starter. “The mound had a bit of a [w[weird]anding area. He didn’t have a good feel for the mound. He looked good in the pen, thought he was ready to go. Fell behind the first first guy 3-0 and then he hit the triple.”
To his credit, Sato limited the first-inning damage to just two runs and seemed to settle down and adjusted to the mound in the next two innings. He got out of a jam in the second and had a relatively quick third inning until being tagged for four hits and four runs in the fourth inning. The Spartans would tack on two more runs in the fourth off senior Nathan Aggarwal.
Mountain View’s lengthy fourth inning would be unused insurance, though, as the Chargers failed to threaten the rest of the way. In the very next half inning, Wilcox went as quiet as it gets with a three up three down inning: strikeout, groundout, flyout. Not a single ball was hit hard in the inning even on the third time through the lineup.
The good news for the Chargers is they had won four of their previous six games heading into the loss. They still have plenty of time left in the season to get back on track.
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