Baseball: Matadors defeat Santa Teresa HS with seven runs in one inning

Sophomore+Surya+Kumaraguru+pitches+into+the+sixth+inning.+Surya+didnt+give+up+any+runs+in+the+top+of+the+sixth%2C+and+the+Matadors+were+able+to+catch+up+in+the+bottom+of+the+inning.+Photo+by+Pranav+Iyer

Sophomore Surya Kumaraguru pitches into the sixth inning. Surya didn’t give up any runs in the top of the sixth, and the Matadors were able to catch up in the bottom of the inning. Photo by Pranav Iyer

Malini Ramaiyer

Reported by Pranav Iyer and Malini Ramaiyer

After waiting out a rain delay and giving up six runs in the first four innings, it didn’t seem like the Matadors were going to see sunshine against the Santa Teresa Saints. MVHS’ play seemed to match the gloomy weather until the sun finally came out in the sixth inning along with the reenergized Matadors.

With a new pitcher and changes to their lineup, they defeated the Saints 7-6 on March 7 due to a spirited seven run comeback in the sixth inning.

The Saints’ senior Justin Johnson provided a spark for STHS with a leadoff double in the first inning. He then scored the first run on an RBI by junior Luke Andrews. Pitcher junior Jared Slater gave up two runs in the first inning, and in the bottom half, STHS’ senior Jack Leglu pitched a 1-2-3 inning.

Sophomore Surya Kumaraguru pitches into the sixth inning. Surya didn't give up any runs in the top of the sixth, and the Matadors were able to catch up in the bottom of the inning. Photo by Pranav Iyer
Sophomore Surya Kumaraguru pitches into the sixth inning. Surya didn’t give up any runs in the top of the sixth, and the Matadors were able to catch up in the bottom of the inning. Photo by Pranav Iyer

 

The energy in the team’s cheers seemed to match their play, as the STHS dugout called out loudly throughout the game while the Matadors silently trailed behind. The only thing that was louder than the Saints’ bench was the pouring rain that showed up at the top of the second. The umpires discussed, a rain delay was called and the tarp was brought out.

About 15 minutes later, the game resumed and STHS picked up right where they left off. Slater was unable to get any momentum going his way at the mound, allowing the Saints to tack on one in the second and three more in the fourth to push their lead to five.

“It’s a combination of things,” Bonacorsi said. “We struggled with location pitching. Not so much throwing strikes, but just balls up. Whenever we’re missing up, it’s more hittable. They were doing their job, they were jumping on it, they were capitalizing on us.”

For the sixth inning, Bonacorsi made a pitching change and sophomore Sathya Kumaraguru made his first appearance of the game coming in relief of Slater. The Matadors hoped that he could limit the offense barrage of the Saints. Not only was he able to accomplish that, but he completely silenced the STHS bats, allowing just one hit in three innings.

Once we got stuff going, all of a sudden you feel the energy increase, you feel the confidence boost, they start having more fun.

head coach Nick BONAcorsi

“Last time I pitched, I kind of walked every single person,” Kumaraguru said. “So coming out here, I was really nervous especially the beginning. But then I was playing strikes, so I was getting confident.”

Kumaraguru’s pitching performance was matched on the other end by Leglu, who, heading into the bottom of the sixth, was pitching a one-hitter. But his reign was ended quickly.

Hoping for new life, Bonacorsi substituted a handful of sophomores into the lineup and their impacts were felt right off the bat. Slater, who hoped to make amends for his pitching performance got things started with a leadoff single, which was followed by another single by sophomore Jarrett James.

Two batters later, with the bases loaded, senior Surya Kumaraguru sent both James and Slater home to put the Matadors on the board and finally, after being silent the entire game, the MVHS bench came to life.

“Last year, our sophomores, me included, we had at least three comeback wins at home last year,” sophomore Josh Huang said. “So we’re pretty used to coming back from behind.”

The bench and the pressure of the game clearly started to get to the STHS players, as they allowed two straight errors to allow in two more runs. In the blink of an eye, a six run lead became just two. Then, down 6-5 with one out and the bases loaded, James delivered for the second time this inning with a line drive single to score Huang and senior Matthew Hui. With these two runs, the Matadors took the lead at 7-6, capping off a monumental comeback.

“Once we got stuff going, all of a sudden you feel the energy increase, you feel the confidence boost, they start having more fun,” Bonacorsi said. “And it becomes that thing where everyone has a job to do, you push it to the next guy, push it to the next guy and you look up and you’ve got seven runs in one inning, which is hard to do.”

Eventually, the Saints got out of dismal inning but still startled from the complete swing of momentum, they were unable to get enough offense going to even the score back up at seven. The Matadors emerged victorious 7-6 despite trailing behind for the first five innings of the game. The game highlighted the potential they can capitalize on during the course of the season.

“We showed ourselves a number of things tonight. We showed that we can play from behind, we showed that there is no quitting us, and we showed that we can play together as a team,” Bonacorsi said. “That’s more important to me than the win at this point, it’s just showing that we have that capability moving forward. Because as we approach league next week, that’s going to be really important.”

The Matadors lost 1-0 to Willow Glen HS on March 8 despite junior Allen Iwamoto pitching a one-hitter. They will host Prospect HS on March 10 at 3:30 p.m.

Correction(Mar. 11 9:46 p.m.) A previous version misstated Allen Iwamoto’s grade. He is a junior.