After a stunning performance last year in CCS, the varsity boys baseball team returns refreshed and strong as ever to defend its title and reign as two-time champions. CCS playoffs begin on May 14.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I think we can do it if we take it one game at a time,” senior Lane Cowan said.
Starting the season with an impressive 6-1 record, the team is optimistic that no one will be able to take them down.
Especially notable this year is the team pitching rotation, which consists of seniors Connor Smith, Robert Cave and Eric Johnson, who carried the team through a difficult match against the formidable St. Francis.
“We’re playing with solid pitching,” varsity coach Sandy Wihtol said. “We’re getting a lot of runners on base and hitting the ball much better than I thought we would.
Connor, pitching in the fifth inning, was able to score the team a lead going into the sixth and seventh innings. Eric came in during the last two innings and was able to shut St. Francis down and clinch the narrow 3-2 victory. With a group of about 40 energetic spectators witnessing the victory and cheering for them, Wihtol named the match the team’s key highlight so far.
“[Our pitchers] get the job done every time they’re asked to do it,” Lane said. “Our pitching is going to take us to CCS.”
The team’s success, according to Wihtol, stems from its great chemistry and its focus on mastering the fundamentals of defense and pitching instead of trying to dominate the other team.
“Our team is not a power hitting team,” Lane said. “We don’t rely on our hitting. Instead we focus on good defense and pitching.”
That is not to say that the team is not capable of winning by a large margin, has can be seen by its 7-0 victory over Oak Grove. Recently in a game against Sobrato, the team entered the last inning with a score of 9-0. Lane scored a homerun against Gunn and another against Sobrato, which helped cement the victory. As always, the team’s pitching skill was a deciding factor.
“Robert Cave pitched excellently, and the guys just played some great baseball,” Wihtol said.
Wihtol has high hopes that the team will make it as far as last year. Having improved both its pitching and hitting significantly, the team has the skills it needs to hold onto its title.
“I think everyone on the team would be disappointed if we didn’t get far in CCS playoffs,” Wihtol said. “We have that potential to do it.”
Even if the team does not hold its CCS champion title, the large number of underclassmen on the team will ensure that it will be a force to be reckoned with for at least the next few years.
“We have a lot of talented seniors and juniors coming up,” sophomore Scott Abramo said. “We have really good power hitters and our pitching’s really great. We’re making contact with the ball.”