Skyline baseball continues to slide

Photo by Kenny Martin/ The Skyline View
Skyline first baseman Luciano Molina tries to get the Rams’ Kenny Hall out to keep the game close.

Skyline’s baseball team lost to the Gavilan College Rams at Skyline Tuesday, Feb. 26, 9-3 in their first conference game. After the Trojans’ dramatic win against the Contra Costa Comets Feb. 13, the team had high hopes moving forward. However, none of those hopes have materialized, as the Trojans have since lost seven consecutive games, dropping their record to 2-10.

Head Coach Dino Nomicos knew going into the game what the first conference matchup would mean for his tired and struggling team, who had just recently completed a stretch of three games over four days.

“We can flush everything down the toilet,” Nomicos said. “A win today erases all of the prior losses. The entire pre-season was to prepare us for today.”

During this rough losing streak, the Trojans’ offense sputtered, scoring only 13 runs in seven games. Part of the reason for the team’s offensive woes is because A.J. Santiago, 2nd baseman and voted All-Conference 2nd team last year, missed the first six games due to an illness and he hasn’t been the same player since his return.

“Santiago just needs to stay within himself,” Hitting Coach John Quintell said. “He’s more than good enough.” As for the team, Quintell said their main problem as far as hitting is concerned is their mental approach; there aren’t glaring physical flaws. “Our boys need to settle in and let the game come to them,” Quintell said.

Skyline did not do themselves any favors when they got behind early, allowing the Rams to jump to a quick 4-0 lead after only two innings. When the other team gets those quick scores on you, it’s easy to blame the pitcher, but Tony Brunicardi, the pitching coach for Skyline, said starting pitcher Bryan Hidalgo did a good job.

“Hidalgo (who went six innings) pitched through some suspect defense,” Brunicardi said. “He only gave up one earned run, but the defense committed six errors. If we can get that outing out of Hidalgo every time he plays, we’ll be fine.”

The situation did not improve however, as the Rams kept steadily piling on runs while the Trojans couldn’t string their hits together until the ninth inning. Down 9-0 in the final inning, leadoff hitter Robin Lausen, who was pinch-hitting for left-fielder Nick Bongi, hit a first-pitch home run to give the Trojans a run. It was only the second home run Skyline’s had all season, with the first coming in the season opener.

“As soon as he hit it, five or six of us said ‘that’s a home run,’” catcher Michael Thompson said. “It really woke us up once we saw a run.”

Skyline would add several more line drives up center field to knock in two more runs to make it a 9-3 game, but Luciano Molina’s hard hit down the first base side was snatched out of the air by a Rams’ defenseman, and that ended the Trojans’ comeback.

“We didn’t come ready to play,” Nomicos said. “We made lots of defensive mistakes. We couldn’t get all facets of the game going at the same time. We go over defense every day, and today was just one of those days. We just have to keep playing. The more games this team plays, the better they’ll be.”