Baseball: Matadors’ offense pushes them past Independence HS

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Pranav Iyer

Shaking off a 1-6 start to the season, the Matadors are now riding on a two game winning streak after an 11-6 victory on Friday Mar. 13 over the Independence 76ers.

“We put together 14 great innings and we’re going to keep rolling,” Matador coach Nick Bonacorsi said. “League starts and we have momentum. That’s exactly where I want us to be.”

Although it was the Matadors who came away victorious in the end, it was the 76ers that struck first. In the top of the third inning with two outs and runners on second and third, senior Jason Lin hit a single to score senior Nico Nerecina and junior Jonathan Marin.

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junior Ryan Granzella played a vital role in the Matadors’ offensive attack. He went 2-3 with a walk, stolen base, triple, RBI and three runs.

The Matadors responded promptly, scoring four in the next half inning.  Junior Ryan Granzella started it off with a single and then sloppy pitching and defensive play by the 76ers allowed Granzella and junior Andrew Ding to score, tying the game up at two. The Matadors then earned some runs on their own as senior Sheldon McClelland cleared the bases with a triple, giving the Matadors a 4-2 advantage.

From then on, the Matador’s offense stayed hot, scoring two in three straight innings to back up their five run third.“It was definitely our best game because we have been struggling to put up runs,” Granzella said. “We put a bunch of good innings together, instead of just one inning. In the past games, we have been leaving a lot of runners in scoring position and we didn’t do that very of that this game.”

But IHS didn’t go away without a fight. They started off the fifth inning down 7-3 but were able to quickly gain some momentum with two straight singles by junior Dominic Salciccia and senior Peter Mugwagna. McClelland then quickly struck two batters out but three straight walks allowed Salciccia and Mugwagna to come home, closing the gap to to just two.

With things getting out of hand for the Matadors, Bonacorsi decided to put junior Matthew Hui in to pitch. He put an end to the 76ers momentum by forcing a groundout and then went on to pitch two more scoreless innings, only allowing one hit.

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Junior Matthew Hui came in relief of senior Sheldon McClelland in the fifth inning. He got the Matadors out of a jam and went on to pitch a shutout for the remaining two innings.

“He’s consistently been a strike thrower, so thats the perfect type of guy you want there,” Bonacorsi said. “and it kills that side. They’re trying to get something going, we switch pitchers, they’re excited, and we get their first guy to bounce out.”

The 76ers were put into an unusual situation when they dug themselves into such a big hole. They had won their past three games by a combined score of 44-0, pretty surreal numbers.

“They lost focus,” IHS coach Bob Leadbetter said. “When they lose focus, they become different ball players.”

The Matadors are now 3-6 as they head into league play against their crosstown rival Cupertino HS on Tuesday Mar. 17 at 4:00 pm.