Recap by Daniel: Baseball vs. Rincon Valley

The baseball team took a break from BCL Central play over the weekend, traveling up to Santa Rosa for a matchup with Rincon Valley Christian. After nearly two weeks away from the field due to Intersession and Spring Break, Saturday’s game served as a tune-up to get the bats, gloves and arms back in order. And although there was some lingering rust, the Breakers returned to San Francisco with a 9-4 win.

Bay raced out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, as Rincon Valley’s starting pitcher gift-wrapped a rally by issuing a four-pitch walk to Nick ’16 and hitter Jason ’14. Co-captain Isaias ’13 brought home the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly, and Sam ’14, Lucas ’13 and Jack ’14 each followed with base hits to account for other three runs.

The Breakers would not relinquish that early edge at any point in the contest, but there was no shortage of nervous moments in the visitors’ dugout. When the going got rough, however, the defense made all the plays necessary to ensure that the victory would not slip away.

The Eagles immediately countered Bay’s opening salvo by plating three runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame—and they could have had more, were it not for some impressive glovework by Isaias at third base. With runners at the corners and one out, Rincon Valley’s number-seven hitter sent a sharp ground ball to the hot corner, which Isaias fielded cleanly and fired home to prevent the tying run from coming across. One pitch later, Sam—whose afternoon on the mound got off to a shaky start—escaped the jam by inducing another grounder to Isaias, who stepped on third to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, with the Breakers ahead 7-4 and one run already in, the Eagles loaded the bases with only one out, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Head coach Sean Engmann brought on Patrick in relief of Sam, and on his very first pitch, Patrick coaxed a bouncer just left of the second-base bag—a tailor-made double-play ball. Co-captain Chevalo ’13 flipped the ball to Nick, who made a strong relay to first that extinguished the threat. The twin killing was the Breakers’ second in as many games.

“The defense was fairly solid yesterday,” Engmann said. “Isaias made some big plays. Turning the double play was huge. We don’t make those [plays] earlier in the season. Baseball is a game of repetition; we need to keep repeating things in practice so that we can incorporate them better in games.”

Patrick, who pitched another inning and a third, earned his first high-school win with the tightrope act in the last of the fourth. He struggled toward the end of the outing, hitting three Rincon Valley batters in a span of four pitches, but still showed significant improvement from his outings before the break.

“[Patrick’s] mechanics still have a long way to go, but he’s working hard and he has made strides and looks a lot better than he did a couple of weeks back,” Engmann said.

On the hitting front, the Breakers were predictably out of sync with more than two weeks separating Saturday’s game from their previous contest, a win over Gateway way back on April 5.

“Our timing was off; that takes time and work,” Engmann said. “Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand that I can wave to get everyone’s timing back, but we will spend time on it as we look ahead to Leadership this week.”

Jake ’14 struck out to begin the first inning on Saturday, but bounced back with a single in the fourth inning and a double in the sixth. After starting the spring in a 2-for-19 rut, Jake has collected seven hits in his last 16 at-bats, bumping his average for the season to .257.

“Confidence,” Engmann said, when asked about the key to Jake’s turnaround. “Jake has stepped up to be one of our leaders, and he has begun to learn to turn the page, trust his swing, and put failures behind him. Early in the year, his leadoff strikeout would have buried him. Instead, he responded very well.”

The Breakers finished the game on a high note with Jason on the hill, as the righty struck out all five batters he faced to notch his second save of the season. Bay, which improved to 8-3 and remains a perfect 4-0 in league play, will return to the practice field on Monday and Tuesday, before taking on Leadership on Wednesday and Friday. First pitch for both of those BCL Central tilts is set for 3:30 p.m. on Sundberg Field at Balboa Park.

— Daniel Rathman is the quality control assistant for the Bay baseball team. He was a member of The Bay School’s first graduating class and graduated from Tufts University last May. In addition to his coaching duties, Daniel is a writer and editor for Baseball Prospectus, and a soon-to-be graduate student at New York University.

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