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Sanchez delivers in Pierce win over Princeton
Junior shortstop Oscar Sanchez hit a home run over the leftfield wall and drove in four runs for the Pierce High baseball team in their 6-2 victory Thursday against host Princeton High.
The Bears (2-0) faced two tough Eagles pitchers but took advantage of their opponent's youth in the field.
New coach Cecil Felkins has the Bears playing sound fundamental baseball despite filling several important positions with relatively inexperienced players.
"We're going to be scrappy, we're going to battle. I'm bringing a different tone, a different type of baseball; a little more up-tempo, a little more disciplined and fundamental-based," Felkins said.
Seniors Hayden Kalfsbeek and Joey Hernandez return for another season. Kalfbseek will spit time catching, pitching and playing middle infield, while Hernandez anchors the outfield and will see time on the mound.
Sanchez hit a 2-run double in the 1st inning and teed off for his 2-run homer in the 3rd.
"He's a junior coming back, definitely a leader on our squad, he's going to help us out a lot. He's raw but he's learning. He hit that one pretty good, there was no doubt really," Felkins said.
Sophomores Jake Voorhees and Dalton Sachs share time on the mound and at first base. Both saw significant playing time as freshmen and play with more maturity than most sophomores. Voorhees tossed four shutout innings against the Eagles, striking out seven.
Junior Alex Camuti moved away from Arbuckle in elementary school but returned this year and claimed a spot at third base and on the pitcher's mound.
Freshman Garrett Brainard is a super utility player who Felkins banks on to fill in at catcher for Kalfsbeek when the senior is pitching or playing second base.
"I like what we've got so far, they're working hard and they're learning," Felkins said.
The Bears beat Lower Lake 7-5 on Wednesday and improved to 2-0 after beating Princeton.
The Eagles seek to continue their success after reaching the Division VI championship game the last four years, but face an uphill battle due to youth and injuries.
"That was very good for coming in with a lot of new faces and a lot of kids with not a lot of experience. We made some plays when we needed to," Princeton coach Bryan Lex said.
Ace pitcher Fernando Sotelo tossed four solid innings in relief after starting the game at shortstop. He struck out six and allowed just one earned run, but is scheduled to have knee surgery next week to fix an issue which has plagued him since last baseball season.
Fortunately for Princeton, another versatile pitcher and infielder, Gavino Mitchum, should be able to join the lineup when he recovers from a knee injury, which occurred late in the basketball season.
Other than giving up the long-ball to Sanchez, starting pitcher Rod Angus threw well considering the youth of the defense behind him, which includes several players who have little to no experience on the baseball diamond.
Freshman Kyle Wills is starting in center field, first-year junior Julian Rosas plays first base, Adam McMartin takes over third base and Jacob Chrestensen starts in left field and hits out of the No. 2 hole.
That inexperience showed in the 1st inning when a dropped fly ball with two outs by sophomore second baseman Felix Gonzalez led to two runs.
"I think with each play we gained a little more confidence. I think a lot of them were pretty nervous out there to start things out," Lex said.
"We knew coming in that we're going to make mistakes but I told them just get over it move on and don't fold up. Start getting around to the 5th and 6th inning and we were still in this thing. It was very, very good."
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.