Baseball: Matadors late rally pushes them past Fremont HS

Senior+Andrew+Dings+blasts+a+triple+to+center+field+scoring+Ryan+Granzella.+After+three+innings+of+lackluster+play%2C+the+Matadors+finally+started+to+spread+their+wings+starting+in+the+fourth+inning.+Photos+by+Pranav+Iyer.+

Senior Andrew Dings blasts a triple to center field scoring Ryan Granzella. After three innings of lackluster play, the Matadors finally started to spread their wings starting in the fourth inning. Photos by Pranav Iyer.

Pranav Iyer

Story by Kalpana Gopalkrishnan.

Down 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, it looked like MVHS was going to lose its first home game against Fremont High School after a five-game home winning streak. This game was a rematch that took place on April 7; two days before, MVHS blew out FHS 13-6 at their place.  But when the first inning began, spotty fielding from the Matadors kicked off what looked to be a dominant performance by FHS. With players consistently hitting with power and getting on

The Firebirds jog back to their dugout after and end to the inning on defense. They got off to a fast start against the Matadors on April 7. Photo by Pranav Iyer.
The Firebirds jog back to their dugout after and end to the inning on defense. They got off to a fast start against the Matadors on April 7. Photo by Pranav Iyer.

base, FHS was able to capitalize on a bases loaded situation and score two runs.

At the same time, during the first three innings, MVHS batters failed to make any hits that would generate any real scoring opportunities. The Matadors ended the third inning with three straight groundouts and were down 2-0.

The Matadors defense clamped down in the fourth as they were able to hold the score. Then in the bottom of the inning, senior Ryan Granzella narrowed the lead to 2-1 after a triple from senior Andrew Ding down center field sent him home. MVHS had a chance to steal the lead and maintain their home winning streak as they entered the fifth. But after two consecutive doubles resulting in a run for Fremont in the top of the fifth, the

Senior Andrew Dings blasts a triple to center field scoring Ryan Granzella. After three innings of lackluster play, the Matadors finally started to spread their wings starting in the fourth inning. Photos by Pranav Iyer.
Senior Andrew Dings blasts a triple to center field scoring Ryan Granzella. After three innings of lackluster play, the Matadors finally started to spread their wings starting in the fourth inning. Photos by Pranav Iyer.

Firebirds scooted ahead again 3-1. The Matadors failed to convert any runs in the bottom of the fifth, and just like that, the team was two innings away from losing its streak.

“I just told them to relax,” coach Nick Bonacorsi said. “If you watch the flow of the game, we got tense, we started to overthink some stuff, so my whole message was just take a breath, calm down, go back to the game plan and clear your head.”

After MVHS held FHS off in the top of the sixth, they kicked off the bottom of the sixth with a hit down left field from senior Surya Kumaraguru. Then with a single from Ding, and another from sophomore Sathya Kumaraguru, the bases were loaded. Junior Brendan Hughes stepped up to the plate and made contact. Surya took off for home, and after the FHS catcher mishandled the throw and tagged Surya without the ball, he was called safe making the score 3-2. With two outs, junior Allen Iwamoto was up to bat. A high hit down the right side was

Junior Allen Iwamoto throws warm-up pitches to senior Ryan Granzella before the start of an inning. the MVHS defense played a key role in their success down the stretch. Photo by Pranav Iyer.
Junior Allen Iwamoto throws warm-up pitches to senior Ryan Granzella before the start of an inning. the MVHS defense played a key role in their success down the stretch. Photo by Pranav Iyer.

enough for both Ding and Sathya to score. After trailing the entire game, the Matadors were back up 4-3.

“It seems like a lot of times at home were flat at the beginning and towards the end we come back,” Iwamoto said. “We’ve done it before, but it makes the game more fun and interesting.”

But FHS still had a chance in the top of the seventh to avoid a loss. Bonacorsi switched in Surya to close the game.

“We went to Surya because typically he’s a strikes thrower,” Bonacorsi said. “He’s a velocity change from Allen.”
But when he walked an FHS player, who then stole second, and then third, the win looked like less of a given. Bent over and set to make the run to home, the FHS player was forced to walk back to the dugout as the Matadors forced a ground out that would extend their winning streak to five.