Baseball Expects Home Run Season

After reaching the CCS championships for two years in a row, the boys baseball team hopes to continue its winning streak in 2009.
Last year, the team had a strong season. It had an overall record of 22-12 and narrowly lost the CCS championship 3-2. Yet six of its nine starters graduated after the season, including star pitcher Erik Johnson, who now plays baseball for UC Berkeley.
The team believes that this loss will not affect their performance this year, however. According to senior Garrett Silski, a lot of players gained valuable experience as well as new talent from the previous year. The final three spots of the starting line-up were filled by sophomores.
“[We have] a good incoming class of juniors,” senior Keane Johnson said. “We’ve been playing together for a long time and we know a lot about each other.”
Varsity head coach Sandy Wihtol is optimistic as he begins his 13th year coaching at the school.
“We have better power, speed and defense than last season and now it is up to finding out who wants the ball on the mound,” Wihtol said.
According to Wihtol, the team’s toughest competition will come from Wilcox, Los Gatos and Monta Vista High Schools, as the four schools will battle to reach the top of the De Anza Division.
“We just need to be prepared for the season and what is going to [be] thrown at us this year,” junior Nicky Young said. “We should do fine once we get our mechanics down.”
Following its historic CCS victory in 2007 and a close defeat in 2008, the team hopes to go far in CCS again this year.
“These players now-a-days expect nothing but a winning season and with our tough schedule against some of the best programs in the CCS, [to] compete and win on a constant basis,” Wihtol said. “They are working hard [for] that goal.”
During its off-season, the team spent nine weeks conditioning at Overtime Fitness twice a week. Players also practiced hitting and throwing on an open field for three weeks.
Wihtol is confident in the team’s prospects.
“I am not concerned about their conditioning as much as watching to see who on the team will emerge as our leaders as pitchers on the mound,” Wihtol said.