Sacred Heart Prep’s baseball team has not been accustomed to fast starts over the past couple years. In fact, the Gators won just one of its first seven games last season, after dropping its first seven games in 2016. Those recent memories make the 2-0 start for SHP last week that much more impressive, with wins over Menlo-Atherton and Aragon to kick off the 2018 campaign.
“My first three years, we have started pretty slow each year, so it felt pretty good to come out and get wins against a couple of good teams, especially with us still missing four guys who are in basketball,” said fourth-year head coach Anthony Granato. “It’s been great to see pitching and our defense ready to come out and win games. It was also huge to win a one-run game this early in the year. We have to be able to scratch out some victories.”
Indeed, last week’s 1-0 win over Aragon on Thursday was a big change from last year, when the Gators went 1-6 in one-run games. Nathan Fleischli set the tone on Thursday, allowing just one hit and tossing three scoreless innings before handing the ball to Georgetown commit Angelo Tonas, who slammed the door by striking out six batters over the final four innings.
“Angelo has been great for us, ever since his freshman year on varsity, when he was on the hill for us in the section title game win (against Carmel),” Granato said of the left-hander. “He is a hard worker, and he just gets better and better every year.”
Despite the tremendous performances of Fleischli and Tonas, the Gators still needed some late-inning heroics, headed to the bottom of the seventh inning locked in a scoreless tie. Senior catcher John McGrory opened the inning with a double, driving a 1-0 fastball into the gap between right and center, and after a walk to Ryan McWilliams, a ground ball from Parker Isaacson advanced both runners – including Aidan Macaluso, who was running for McGrory – into scoring position.
Jack Fitzsimmons got himself into a 0-2 hole at the plate, but responded by driving one over the head of Aragon’s drawn-in center fielder for the winning hit.
“Our guys were pressing a bit, after not scoring a couple times when they had opportunities in the earlier innings,” Granato said. “But we have a lot of guys who embrace their roles and the chance to perform in clutch situations. We are senior heavy, so they know what it takes.”
Indeed, Sacred Heart Prep is loaded with 12 seniors this season, a dozen players who felt the sting of not qualifying for the playoffs last year. Earlier in the week, they had gotten started with a 5-2 win over Menlo-Atherton. Jack Donnelly, who had a pair of hits in the win over Aragon, went 2-for-3 in the win over the Bears, while Fitzsimmons reached base twice and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. That was plenty to support a strong outing from Isaacson, who did not allow an earned run in his four-inning start.
The Gators kick things up a notch, with a huge test this Tuesday against Palo Alto, before a weekend date with Carmel.
Wilcox blasts way to strong start
Wilcox is off to a 4-0 start, and the offense has taken the lead, scoring 51 runs in the first four games.
This past Saturday, the Chargers blanked Santa Clara, 11-0, as Angel Martinez and Robert Padilla combined on a four-hit shutout. Meanwhile, Alex Tolbert added a double and three RBI in the win.
Two days earlier, it was a 20-2 shellacking of Andrew Hill, in which Andrew Sparenberg went 2-for-2 with a double and three RBI, while Jarrett Chapman went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Tolbert also drove in four runs in last week’s 13-4 win over Evergreen Valley, while David Hernandez had a double, two RBI, and a stolen base.
SHC continues to roll
After opening the season with a narrow win over Mission, Sacred Heart Cathedral has really found an early stride in the past two games, including Saturday’s 16-1 rout past Homestead.
Martin Chavarria and Marty Cole each had three hits, with Chavarria driving in three runs, as the Fightin’ Irish improved to 3-0 for the year. Cole also got the start on the mound against the Mustangs, and tossed five strong innings, allowing just four hits and one run while striking out four. Sophomore Uday Narottam, who got the win in relief against Mission, slammed the door with a pair of dominant innings against Homestead, striking out three and allowing just one hit.
Near no-no for Live Oak
A third inning single for Fastino Martinez was all that stood between Live Oak’s pitching staff and a combined no-hitter on Saturday against Andrew Hill, as the Acorns rolled to the 10-0 victory.
Andrew Lopez did not allow a hit in his two innings on the mound, but did need 41 pitches after striking out five batters and issuing a pair of free passes in his two-inning start. Ashton Green also struck out five batters in two innings, while giving up the lone single to Martinez, before Justin Sakai took the mound for the fifth and final inning, striking out two of three batters he faced.
Sakai also paced the offense, going 3-for-4 with three RBI.
Reelfs picks up where he left off
Los Altos pitcher Alex Reelfs took to the mound to start his 2018 campaign on Friday against San Lorenzo Valley, and the Eagles’ ace was almost as dominant as his two no-hitters last season.
The 6-foot-5 right-hander struck out seven and allowed just one hit over five innings in the 15-2 victory, with sophomore Zach Fuchs closing the door with a pair of hitless innings, striking out four in the process.
Junior Ben Parker led the way offensively, going 4-for-6, while Reelfs and freshman Aaron Parker each doubled in the win, with the younger Parker driving in three runs.