Picking up where he left off from football season, Wilcox Chargers’ senior David Hernandez is dazzling on the diamond to start baseball season. The Chargers—playing in the Ted Tamone tournament put on by Santa Clara High School—defeated the Branham Bruins 7-4 Tuesday night and Hernandez was once again in the spotlight. With the Chargers trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Hernandez came up to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. The Chargers’ center fielder and lead-off man worked the count full before sitting back nicely on a curve ball and lacing it right back up the middle, knocking in a pair of runs to tie the game.
“I just knew I had to put the ball in play, that’s all I had to do—move the runners over—didn’t need to do anything special,” remarked Hernandez after the game. “In the dugout before my at bat, I knew he was going to throw me a curveball. When I saw the curve, I just sat back and waited on it.”
Hernandez would use his trademark lightning speed to beat out an infield single to shortstop in the bottom of the sixth inning, adding another RBI in the process. The Chargers had taken the lead for good earlier in the inning on a bases loaded hit by pitch. They then added two more runs by way of errors to go along with Hernandez’s infield hit, taking a 7-3 lead into the top of the seventh.
“As soon as he hit it, I knew he was going to be safe,” said Chargers Head Coach David Currie on Hernandez’s infield single. “With the way this grass is, pretty much any ground ball he hits, he’s gonna be safe.”
From his center field spot, Hernandez had a good view of Chargers starting pitcher Angel Martinez, who fought through some bad luck to keep Wilcox in the game. A couple of infield hits bounced off his glove and away from the defense behind him, but Martinez utilized his curveball effectively to steal strikes, keeping the Branham batters off balance.
“He’s just gonna get better and better,” commented Hernandez on Martinez’s job on the mound. “His curveball is going to help with his fastball, mixing things up, he’s gonna be a really good pitcher for us.”
“He did a good job for us tonight,” noted coach Currie on his starter. “He threw strikes, got his offspeed pitches over. He had some tough luck, couple balls off his glove, but for his first game on the mound, I was pleased.”
Martinez would go four-and-two-thirds innings before giving way to Nathan Santos for the final two-and-one-third innings. Santos allowed one run in the top of the seventh, and did a nice job holding Branham at bay.
The Chargers will play twice more in this tournament before hosting their own tourney next week, the Mike Hazlett Memorial Tournament.
Wilcox is also slated to play against rival Santa Clara on Saturday, Feb. 24 at Washington Park.