Talking Giants Baseball: A San Francisco Giants/Baseball Blog: De Anza Rallies to Edge Cabrillo

Monday, March 14, 2011

De Anza Rallies to Edge Cabrillo

Player cut by Seahawks gets game-winning pinch-hit for De Anza as Dons improve to 1-3 in Coast Conference.

De Anza 5, Cabrillo 4

The Stars: Chris Freeman, who tried out for the Cabrillo Seahawks but was told he was not good enough, laced an eighth inning, pinch-hit double down the left-field line that knocked in the winning run for the De Anza College baseball team. The clutch knock broke up the tie ball game, helping De Anza edge Cabrillo 5-4 on a spotless Saturday afteroon at De Anza College.

De Anza starting pitcher Ryan Gunther was strong, lasting six and one-third innings and yielding just three runs. He kept the Dons in the ballgame, dazzling Hawk hitters with his knuckleball and exiting the mound in a 3-3 tie. De Anza right-hander Henry Santoro (1-0) earned the win in relief. Outfielder Will Gibson moved from center field to the mound and closed out the game in the ninth, earning his second save of the year. The game was the first win in four tries for De Anza in Coast Conference play.
For the Seahawks, right-handed hurler Taylor Toccalino pitched five strong innings, surrendering just two runs. The game was tied at two at the time

Seahawks catcher Jake Ohmann had a stellar day offensively. After Gunther hit him on the helmet in the fourth inning, Ohmann hit a game-tying RBI double in the top of the sixth inning and blooped a single to load the bases in the eighth. He also stole a base as part of a double steal.

The Turning Point: With the bases loaded and nobody out in the top of the eighth inning, De Anza (4-10, 1-3, Coast Conference) relief pitchers Mason Sperakos and Henry Santoro escaped the jam by allowing just one run on a one-out ground out that was hit too softly for an inning-ending double play. Manager Scott Hertler summoned in Santoro with two outs in the eighth, and he promptly retired the side on an atom ball to center field.

The Dons exhibited good plate discipline going into the late innings. Coming into Saturday’s game, the Dons’ team batting average was just .203, but they have been hitting better of late, scoring 21 runs in the last three games. De Anza’s eighth inning game-winning rally was started on a leadoff single by Kai Washington, who was bunted over to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Will Gibson. This set up Freeman’s clutch game-winning double. Freeman showed fundamental plate discipline by taking an outside pitch and lacing an opposite-field line drive.

The Quotes:  “We played hard like we always do, but this time we played perfect defense,” Dons manager Scott Hertler said after the win. “We were very opportunistic [with our hits]. It’s not how many hits you get; it’s when you get them.”

Despite De Anza’s poor record, Hertler knew that his team’s hard work would eventually pay off.

“Every time you come to the yard, you have to expect to win,” Hertler said. “It was not a surprise win.”

Starting pitcher Ryan Gunther had most of his pitches working during the game and was thrilled about his team’s first win in Coast Conference play.

“I bore down, stayed in the game, and threw strikes,” Gunther said. “My curveball and slider were working very well. They beat me on good pitches at the knees. We really needed it [the win].”

The ballgame’s offensive hero, Chris Freeman, admits that beating the team that cut him was a thrilling moment.

“The guy I faced was a good friend of mine, so I knew what was coming,” Freeman said. “There is no better feeling in baseball than to stick a nail in the coffin against a team that said you couldn’t play anymore.”

What's Next? De Anza heads to Gilroy on Tuesday to take on Gavilan College. The game will start at 2:30 p.m.

Cabrillo will host CaƱada College on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

Bottom Line: The Dons played an overall clean game on Saturday. Their hard work showed up on the field on Saturday, as the Dons played baseball the way it should be played. They had made 43 errors in 13 games before Saturday’s game, but made none on Saturday. Cabrillo (11-6, 3-2 Coast Conference) made two crucial errors, contributing greatly to their loss. The Dons also executed good fundamentals, using little ball to score runs since the team does not have much pop. If the Dons can cut down their errors and find ways to score runs, they might just be a factor in the Coast Conference.
De Anza 5, Cabrillo 4
WP: Santoro (1-0). LP: Cedar Morgan (1-3)
Records: De Anza 4-10, 1-3 Coast Conference. Cabrillo 11-6, 3-2 Coast Conference.

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