On Wednesday, the Baseball team was overpowered in a tough home loss against the Burlingame Panthers, the game finished with a final score of 6-5.
Senior George Zaharias took the mound for M-A in front of a crowd of MLB scouts.
Zaharias verbally announced his commitment to the University of Texas two years ago, but could still be picked in this years upcoming MLB draft.
One anonymous Los Angeles Dodgers scout said, “I came specifically to see George Zaharias.” As for his performance, the scout said, “Plenty of projection. He’s got some stuff now, but you know down the road, I can see body, athlete, he’s got some arm strength, he’s got some velocity, he’s got a secondary pitch he can land for a strike, all good ingredients, really good ingredients.”
Regarding the scouts, M-A varsity baseball coach Jordan Paroubeck said, “It’s exciting for everybody; the other team knows it, our team knows it, everybody elevates their game. It brings out the best in baseball, it makes baseball exciting.”
On the hill, Zaharias didn’t have an ideal outing, but certainly brought the heat. In the first inning, he gave up a home run after walking a batter, putting Burlingame up 2-0 early before allowing another runner to score after a hit and some stellar baserunning. While Zaharias finished the day giving up a total of five runs, he struck out an impressive nine batters, showcasing his high velocity and ability to strike batters out with elite efficiency.
Immediately, the Bears rallied to pick up their pitcher. Senior outfielder Davis Phillips led off for M-A with a single and sophomore shortstop Will Roberts doubled to set the stage for junior catcher Trevor Heinz, who smoked a base hit into left field to bring both runners home. The deficit was cut to just one run, making it 3-2.
Once Zaharias got back to the mound, he gave up another home run to put the Bears down 4-2 before settling in and getting a couple of strikeouts to retire the side.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Bears fought right back into the game. Junior outfielder Adam Chane stung a base hit up the middle, and sophomore outfielder David Lopez destroyed a double into the left-center gap.
The Bears then displayed some stellar situational hitting. Junior second baseman Shawn Pagee drove in Chane on a groundout and junior first baseman Harrison Long drove a ball into the outfield for a hit to bring in Lopez, evening the game at four.
In the third inning, Zaharias’ last of the game, things didn’t go as planned, a couple of hits and some defensive mistakes brought in one more run, giving the Panthers back the lead at five to four.
After a quiet couple of innings, the Bears came back to life in the bottom of the fifth. Phillips got the Bears going again with a single, was moved over to second on a bunt from Roberts, and scored on a double from Heinz, bringing his RBI total to three on the day and evening the score at five.
In the sixth, Menlo-Atherton got into a bit of trouble on the mound. After junior pitcher Noah Whittaker struck out one but walked two, junior pitcher Thomas Scott took the mound to keep his team in the game.
“I had to come in and just do my job and that’s what I did, I got the strikeout, got the pop-out, and ultimately got us back in to score some more runs,” Scott said.
Scott’s great control and quality stuff keep Burlingame at bay, getting big outs with many runners on base.
In the top of the seventh inning, Scott came back out. After a hit and a walk, the situation looked difficult again. Once the runners advanced to second and third, a ground ball to Pagee at second was thrown home for a play at the plate.
The umpire called the runner safe, much to the dismay of the team and the crowd.
Despite the photo evidence of the Panthers’ base-runner being late to the plate, the call stood and Burlingame was back on top by one run.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Bears had one last shot to win the game. In a one-run game, it came down to junior Rowan Kelly at the dish with a runner on first base. The University of California Santa Barbara commit has been on fire, hitting two home runs in the last week and four on the season in limited action.
With tensions high, Kelly grounded out to first base to end the game.
The Bears took their first loss of league play, but will return to the diamond against Burlingame on Friday afternoon.