All photos by John Diepenbrock
On Saturday afternoon, the Bears’ baseball team cruised to victory against the Menlo Knights in their first game against a team managed by their former coach David Trujillo.
Senior pitcher George Zaharias said, “He [Trujillo] has coached me since I was nine, ten years old, so it was cool being out there playing against him instead of with him.”
The Bears got going early in the game. Junior outfielder Adam Chane got on with a hard single up the middle, and junior catcher Trevor Heinz hit a 2-out double to drive in Chane and put the Bears up one to zero in the first inning.
Zaharias started the game pitching for the Bears, and got into some early trouble, yielding a double and a single to start out his outing, which tied the game up for the Knights. Heinz gunned down a steal attempt in the first, helping Zaharias get out of the inning and stopping the bleeding.
In the top of the second, the Bears continued to get on base and jumped out to a bigger lead. With walks by junior third baseman Shawn Pagee and junior first baseman Harrison Long, senior outfielder Davis Phillips came through with a hit to score Pagee, and sophomore shortstop Will Roberts reached on an error to score Long, making the game three to one in the second inning.
In the bottom of the second inning, Zaharias had some control issues, and after giving up a single and two walks, the Bears needed one out to finish the inning without giving up a run. On a 3-2 count he got a crucial strikeout, pounding his fastball right into the zone.
To help him on the pitch, Zaharias said, “I tried to start relaxing, taking a deep breath, calming my body down, calming my mind down.”
He finished his day in the third, giving up just one run and striking out four batters over three innings of play.
In the fourth, the Bears went back to work, getting on base with a single from Long and a bunt hit from junior outfielder Luke Durden. Both runners came in to score after a hit from Roberts, on top of some more sloppy play from the Knights.
The Knights were able to even the score at 5-5 in the bottom of the fourth after a shaky outing from junior pitcher Noah Whittaker.
In the fifth inning, M-A took the lead right back thanks to timely hits from junior second baseman Matthew Wolf, Durden, and a walk from Roberts. Each brought in a run, putting the Bears back ahead 8-5.
The Bears then brought in junior James Gray to pitch. He gave up a double on his first pitch but was able to settle down and provide two much-needed scoreless innings to preserve the lead.
Gray said, “I feel like I found the zone more with my cutter. I realized my fastball wasn’t doing that much. I was throwing as many cutters as I could, keeping them off balance, and I definitely think that led to my success.”
An incredible defensive play kept the Knights from scoring in the sixth, when Phillips gunned down a Menlo base runner at third, with a stellar relay from Roberts and great tag from Pagee.
In the seventh inning, the Bears added a couple of insurance runs to put the game away, including another Heinz hit, with many hitters working walks and coming around on errant throws and wild pitches. The game ended 13-5.
Heinz finished the game with two doubles, a single, and an RBI. About his stellar performance, Heinz said, “I’ve been seeing the ball well, my swing feels really good, I’m on a roll right now.”
The Bears move to 5-3 on the season, and start league play on Wednesday afternoon against Half Moon Bay.