Baseball: Matadors open up season with home loss to Los Altos HS

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Baseball: Matadors open up season with home loss to Los Altos HS

Om Khandekar

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What started as a miraculous comeback ended in a staggering loss for the MVHS baseball team. A chilly day was capped off by an even colder turn of events as fans and players alike watched a four run deficit vanish thanks to a miraculous offensive effort by MVHS, but then was cancelled out by a five run Los Altos HS eighth inning. By the time the players had finished cleaning up and had left the field, a five point loss had been cemented as their first home game of 2017.

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Junior Nathan Hui gets a hit off an LAHS pitch. Hui took over as pitcher in the final inning of the MVHS loss.

MVHS baseball took to the field on Feb. 27 against LAHS, but ultimately ended their first home game of the season with a loss to the LAHS Eagles 6-11 due to sloppy defense and a final LAHS scoring surge.

In the first few innings, both teams were able to match offensive efforts. By the top of the second inning however, LAHS began to pick up its stride and capitalized on two long drives for two easy runs, bringing the score up to 1-2. LAHS took up the momentum for the rest of the inning and headed into the third with a 1-3 lead.

“We definitely could have gotten a lot better,” senior Allen Iwamoto said. “And saved some runs with our defense.”

MVHS struggled to reply to the sudden scoring surge. Throughout the third and fourth innings, MVHS and LAHS traded hits and outs but LAHS soon began to play much more defensively. They fielded every MVHS attempt and outscored MVHS, stopping key drives in the fourth inning with successive strike-outs to maintain a 2-6 lead.  

The silver lining to MVHS’ shoddy defense came in the bottom of the fifth inning with great offensive production. Senior Brendan Hughes opened up with a hit to right field, and sophomore Jake Kokeny made it to first off of an error in centerfield. When Iwamoto hit a drive to right field and made it to first base, MVHS had its first shot at making up the four run deficit they had carried into the inning. Junior Joshua Huang brought all three base runners home with a triple, and the MVHS dugout erupted.

“That hit was pretty lucky actually,” Huang said. “I’m quoting my coach here, ‘as a four hitter, you don’t throw fastballs. [0-1] and you don’t throw another fastball,’ and the pitcher was quote unquote ‘dumb enough’ to throw me another one and I just dribbled it down the third baseline.”

MVHS’ defensive play improved for the next few innings, with key catches by Hughes in the outfield and junior Chris Anderson taking up the reins at the pitcher’s mound. LAHS showed weaknesses in its defense, and Huang was able to score yet another run to tie up the game.

“We scored three runs in one hit, you know?” Iwamoto said. “Anything could happen.”

In the last inning, LAHS definitely proved that, in fact, anything could happen. They put four runners on base in four at-bats, and scored twice while MVHS rotated their pitchers from Anderson to junior Nathan Hui. After that, Iwamoto failed to field a key drive and LAHS scored twice more, putting the final score at 11-6.

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LAHS gets a hit off of an MVHS fastball. LAHS capitalized off an errant MVHs defense late in the game.

“We had a shot to win at the end there, and we didn’t make it happen,” coach Robbie Hoffman said. “They came around, and they got people on, and pushed some runs across.”

With their last possession, MVHS couldn’t make up the six runs they needed to win and ended up with three outs from three consecutive batters. Although this wasn’t the first loss of their season, the last minute comeback definitely stung as MVHS hoped to get a win in their first home game. Once the field had been cleared and the mound had been raked, however, MVHS was just looking ahead to the rest of their season.

“Like coach always says,” Huang said. “‘We’ll see you at CCS.’”

MVHS will play their next home game Thursday March 9, against Prospect HS.

Additional Reporting by Roshan Fernandez