When it comes to public school baseball programs in the Silicon Valley, most schools feature a varsity squad and a junior varsity or frosh/soph squad. However, Wilcox is one of the few public schools that utilizes both a traditional frosh/soph and tertiary freshmen team. This extra team allows the Chargers to develop players who otherwise wouldn’t be getting much playing time. For example, Monday’s game against Cupertino saw frosh/soph starting shortstop Geremy McCollough start the game on the mound. These are innings he otherwise wouldn’t get to pitch if Wilcox didn’t have a freshmen team to give players additional playing time.
“They get playing time here versus being on a 24, maybe 25-man roster at another school where it’s just a frosh/soph team, no freshmen team,” commented Chargers Assistant Coach Scott Smith. “It gets these kids valuable high school playing time and the next year when they are sophomores, they have that experience. It helps build the program. Kids don’t become stale just sitting in the dugout because they’re not getting playing time on a JV team.”
“It definitely helps because we got some great guys on JV,” commented McCollough on playing in the freshmen games. “I’m not always going to be able to play all these positions [up on JV], but I do play them, so it’s good to have a team like this to go out and practice.”
McCollough and a handful of other Chargers freshmen play key roles for both the freshmen and frosh/soph teams. However, as Coach Smith noted, McCollough only pitches a rare inning here or there for the frosh/soph team, so getting him innings with the additional freshmen squad is extremely valuable.
In four innings of work McCollough only allowed two runs and none of the hits allowed were struck well by Cupertino batters. The Pioneers dropped some bloops and infield singles to manufacture a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Cupertino would go on to win 3-0, but all three of the Chargers pitchers were effective.
Southpaw Evan Horozco came in for the seventh inning and struck out the side. The youngster was buoyed in the inning by a nasty curveball.
“Being a lefty, he throws that curve really well,” noted coach Smith. “He keeps them off balance from his fastball to his curveball to his changeup.”
“I wasn’t really feeling the curveball in the beginning, but once I got into it I felt a little bit better about it, more confident,” recalled Horozco. “I was able to put it in the spots that I wanted.”
Without being prompted, Horozco brought up rival school Santa Clara high and the matchup on Saturday. Horozco’s frosh/soph team at Wilcox currently plays in a higher division than the Bruins. However, with the Santa Clara frosh/soph team having a strong season, the Chargers have agreed to an additional non-league game vs their cross-town rival. Let’s just say Horozco is extremely confident the Chargers will beat the Bruins.
“I’m really excited. We are going to beat them.”
Perhaps not the case earlier in the season, but the Bruins sure seem to have the attention of the Chargers now. Should be an entertaining affair come Saturday afternoon at Wilcox.