The 6-0 final score on Tuesday afternoon in Sunnyvale doesn’t do any justice to what was an extremely entertaining baseball game. Hosting Santa Clara Westside on their home field, Sunnyvale Little League jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. That score would hold all the way until the bottom of the fifth. Starting pitchers Luke Canabou for Sunnyvale and Zach Gallegos for Westside both threw the ball extraordinarily well.
“He’s our team captain,” said Sunnyvale Head Coach Albert Tang on Canabou. “He controls the show. We follow his lead. He’s a beast. So proud of him.”
“His fastball and curveball were working and he was really locating well,” added Sunnyvale catcher William Hsu on his batterymate’s performance. “With the location he had, the batters were only making soft contact or just taking the pitches so overall he did a great job.”
Westside was likewise quite pleased with the pitching performance they received from Gallegos.
“His cutter and changeup were working really well,” said Westside’s leadoff hitter and shortstop Dominick Chavarria. “The other team’s hitters couldn’t really get the barrel on his pitches.”
“Changing up his pitches was a big key,” added Westside Head Coach Michael Wharton on Gallegos being able to shut Sunnyvale down in the middle innings. “Different locations and different speeds allowed his success. He really settled down nicely after that first inning.”
That first inning Sunnyvale rally included three straight hits to open up the game. William Tai led the game off with a single through the five-and-a-half hole. Hsu followed up with a perfectly placed bunt up the first base line. Gallegos, a southpaw, had to unwind from his motion to try and get over to field the ball and Hsu was easily able to beat out the infield hit. Canabou followed that up with a line drive double to left-center field, driving in the first run of the game. Cleanup hitter Alex Venables knocked home Hsu from third with an RBI groundout to the third baseman to cap the scoring in the opening frame.
From there on out until the bottom of the fifth, it was all about pitching and defense. The defensive standout in this one was Chavarria at shortstop. The Westside infielder made multiple nice plays ranging to his right into the hole.
“He’s just one of those guys that is a natural leader,” said Wharton on his shortstop. “He brings the best out of everyone.”
Chavarria’s eight-pitch walk with one out in the fifth led to a two on, one-out scenario. Gallegos followed with a single, but Canabou induced a fielder’s choice followed by a strikeout with his nasty curveball to escape the jam unscathed.
Sunnyvale would add four insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth. Loud hits from Charlie Ayalon and Ethan Tang highlighted the four-run rally. Canabou finished off the game by going one, two, three in the sixth to secure the complete game shutout victory.
With the win, Sunnyvale improves to 2-1 in pool play and wraps up the round robin on Thursday. Westside falls to 2-2 and will likely not advance to the elimination round for District 44.