It certainly wasn’t the overall outcome they were hoping for, but the 11-12-year-old Santa Clara Westside All Stars did finish District 44 pool play on a winning note. While a 2-2 record wasn’t enough to qualify for the final-four elimination tournament, there are worse ways to go out than winning in dominant fashion. Behind a strong pitching performance from Charles Conley, Westside cruised to a 14-2 blowout victory on their home field on Saturday over Sunnyvale National. The win temporarily kept Westside’s hopes alive of advancing, but the result they needed in the Cupertino/Sunnyvale Metro game didn’t come to fruition.
“It’s been great coaching these guys, obviously my little guy, but all of these players I’ve coached and seen how they’ve progressed,” said Westside Manager Charles Conley. “It’s definitely bittersweet. Nice to end on a high note, these guys will move onto other things which is great, but bitter because I won’t get to see a lot of these kids again.”
The younger Conley kept Sunnyvale off the board until the fourth inning, which, with the 10-rule, ended up being the final inning of the game.
“I felt really good out there. I was just trying to throw it over the plate and have my defense help me out,” remarked Conley on his performance on the mound. With all the runs Westside scored, there were long breaks between his innings on the rubber. “It’s kind of like your arm gets cold and you have to get your rhythm back.”
Conley had seemingly no trouble getting his rhythm back each inning, as Sunnyvale didn’t even record a hit off him until the fourth.
“Charles was amazing,” remarked teammate Wilson Petersen who had the biggest hit of the game for Westside, a two-run single in the second inning. “I think it was the first couple innings where he struck out like five people.”
Petersen’s single extended Westside’s lead from 5-0 to 7-0, but it was the first hit of the game that actually left the infield. The youngster credited his coaches for helping him get his timing down at the plate during the All Star tournament.
Coach Conley sung the praises of Assistant Coach Frank Montez as the coach Petersen must have been referring to for helping him with his swing.
“Frank Montez, great coach. I first met him three or four years ago, he’s a great hitting coach,” noted the skipper. “He’s actually helped Charles progress with his hitting too. I brought him out here, he helped coach the Rays team. He knows baseball, knows the mechanics of hitting, just a great guy, great guy.”
Other notable contributors in the season finale victory for Westside All Stars were Zach Kwon and Collin Gates. The two Rays teammates also picked up RBI singles in the later innings to help tack on extra runs of support for their fellow Ray, Conley on the mound. It was quite a Ray day for Westside.