Santa Clara ace Jayce Dobie needed just 77 pitches on Tuesday afternoon to finish off a complete game, seven-inning victory over the Mountain View Spartans in the first round of the CCS playoffs. The right-handed pitcher mixed his pitches beautifully, frequently utilizing a curveball to steal strikes early in the count and then often using his fastball to put the opposing hitters away.
“Pitching backwards” as it’s often described in baseball, helped Dobie avoid barrels as the Spartans failed to hit a single ball hard all afternoon. The final score would end up 3-1, but Dobie deserved a shutout with his pitching performance as Mountain View’s lone run scored on a popup that should have been caught for the third out but fell to the ground in shallow right field.
“Jayce makes my life a breeze every game he pitches,” chimed Bruins catcher Jackson Moody. “He’s been doing this all year. He commands the zone and makes it easy for me to get him extra strike calls. I just line up in a spot and I know he’s going to hit somewhere close to it.”
Dobie’s ability to attack the zone with all his pitches allowed him to strike out nine batters whilst keeping the pitch count low. Oftentimes high strikeout totals will mean a higher pitch count, but Dobie didn’t walk a single batter while averaging just 11 pitches per inning.
“Everything was working well, not much else I can say about that,” chuckled the humble and soft-spoken senior. “When I was in the bullpen, I could tell that all my pitches were working.”
Along with a fastball that carries through the zone and a devastating curveball, Dobie also worked in his slider and changeup to keep the Spartans off balance. In fact, one of the only hitters on the afternoon who had balanced swings was Dobie himself. Dobie drove home all three runs for Santa Clara.
After leadoff man Orlando Lewis opened the game with a walk, Dobie would drive him in two batters later with a sacrifice fly to medium-deep center field. In the third inning, Lewis set the table again for Dobie. After Adam Perez drew a walk, Lewis knocked a solid single between third base and shortstop. With runners at second and third, Dobie served a line drive to right field in a 3-2 count that knocked in both Bruins runners.
“He’s an elite hitter, he sees the ball well, I think he gets that from when he’s pitching,” added Moody on Dobie’s difference-making ability offensively. “He knows what’s going through their [pitchers’] minds. He has great mechanics. He’s been doing it all year. He’s one of the best hitters in our league.”
With the win over Mountain View, Santa Clara (6-8 in the De Anza league) now moves on in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) playoff tournament. The Bruins take on the vaunted Vikings of Palo Alto on Wednesday, May 11. The Vikings won the De Anza league with a 13-1 record.