The Archbishop Mitty Monarchs freshman baseball squad looked far more advanced in their high school transformation than the Wilcox Chargers on Tuesday. Wilcox starting pitcher Jayden Greco couldn’t get out of the first inning before being relieved in favor of southpaw Evan Horozco.
Mitty batted around in the top of the first inning as 10 hitters came up to the plate. Free passes were the name of the game as Greco struggled with his command. The defense behind him didn’t do him any favors either with some poor throws. That said, it is important to note that many of these kids are adjusting from 80-foot bases and 55-foot pitching mounds to 90-foot bases and 60-feet, 6-inch mounds. The Chargers would end up getting 10-run mercy ruled on the afternoon, losing 13-0 in just five innings of play.
“Definitely not the outcome we were looking for,” commented Chargers assistant coach Scott Smith. “Unfortunately it’s our spring break this week and maybe the kids are getting a little too comfortable at home. Thursday we will come back and play Wilcox baseball.”
The Chargers will get a chance to atone as they play Mitty again on Thursday, this time on the Monarchs home field. As for Tuesday’s result, even though the score lopsided quickly, the Chargers lineup did threaten throughout. They say line drives are contagious in baseball. Typically that cliche doesn’t carry from dugout to dugout, but in this case the Mitty line drives were indeed mirrored by a handful of Chargers line drives. First baseman and cleanup hitter Scott Smith Jr. smoked a line drive into left field over the shortstop’s head in his first-inning at bat.
“I just went up to the plate expecting to swing at the first pitch if it was a good pitch, that’s my approach,” noted Smith Jr.. “I thought he was gonna throw me a curveball because of where I was hitting in the lineup, but he threw me a fastball in the top of the zone and I just attacked it.”
The difference in the lack of runs being scored was simple execution of pitches. Mitty pitchers attacked the strike zone, forcing the Charger’s hitters to beat them by swinging the bat.
“We had a tough time trying to find the zone,” added Smith Sr. “Our emphasis is not necessarily on striking guys out, but putting the ball in play and giving our defense a chance to make the plays. There are seven guys behind the pitcher for a reason.”
Fundamentally, the Chargers can certainly clean up some mental mistakes. Down 8-0 in the second, a Chargers runner got picked off at first base. Later in the inning another runner was called safe, but also should have been called out on a pickoff attempt. Down that many runs, nobody should be trying to steal bases, so getting picked off is inexcusable. That said, these young pups will lick their wounds and be better for it. They likely won’t make the same mistakes in the future as they move on to the junior varsity and varsity levels.
After Mitty, the Chargers wrap up their season with games against Los Gatos and Cupertino on April 24 and May 1.