Thankfully the rain decided to stay away on Friday afternoon as the Wilcox Chargers were able to defeat the Milpitas Trojans by a final of 3-0. Wilcox was buoyed by a complete-game shutout and a solo home run. While it wasn’t the famed Madison Bumgarner-style complete-game shutout and home run by the pitcher, Chargers’ starting pitcher Robert Padilla did crush a double that nearly went over the fence. However, the home run hitter on that afternoon was actually junior outfielder Nick Malvini. The Chargers checked off all three boxes en route to this victory over Milpitas. Padilla’s pristine pitching performance was backed by timely hitting and some exquisite glove work to boot.
“We played a great game,” said Chargers’ Third Base Coach Paul Rosa. “I actually thought we swung the bat better than six hits too, we hit some balls right at guys. But we also did the little things right. We picked guys off, we bunted, we played a pretty solid game.”
The pickoff play in particular was a big play for Wilcox. With the game still scoreless, the Trojans were in business after hitting a one-out double. That’s when Padilla and shortstop Paul Rosa combined on a heads up pickoff play to nab the runner leaking off second base.
“We spend a lot of time at practice on those pickoff plays, but those two guys in particular [Padilla and Rosa] have been doing it together since they were 10 years old,” remarked coach Rosa. “Those two, and a couple of other guys who have played together for a long time, have a good chemistry together on that one particular pickoff play. Doing it since you’re 10, you have a feel for it that makes it pretty special.”
When discussing his own performance on the mound, Padilla admits he surprised himself.
“My curveball was excellent today, it’s usually not that good, I don’t know what happened today,” chuckled Padilla. “My arm has actually been a bit out of whack, but I came out here and tried to do the best I can for our team and I ended up pitching a full game.”
With the way Padilla was pitching, all the Chargers would need to win was Malvini’s solo blast to left field in the bottom of the fourth.
“It was first pitch, and I was actually thinking right-center field because that’s what we’ve been working on a lot in practice,” noted Malvini on his homer which he ended up hitting to his pull side (left field). “Just before we went to hit, our coaches emphasized sitting back and waiting. I got a fastball middle-in, mainly just down the middle and I hit it out.”
While Malvini’s homer wound up being the difference in the game, junior third baseman and No. 3 hitter Alex Adame also delivered an impressive day at the plate. Adame went 3-for-3 including a double in the third and an RBI single in the fifth inning as part of a two-run rally that tacked on the insurance runs.
On the other side of the ledger, Rosa made multiple tricky plays look easy as he made strong throws on balls hit towards the hole between shortstop and third base.
Between pitching, offense and defense, Wilcox couldn’t have written up a better performance.
They sweep the opening series of league season (2-0) over Milpitas and now look forward to taking on Mountain View with games on Wednesday, March 21 and Friday, March 23.