De Anza blasts past Skyline

It was a nice day for baseball at Skyline College as we hosted De Anza College on Feb. 27, as Skyline tried to get back into the win column.

Head Coach Dino Nomicos was asked before the game about the rough patch that the team has experienced since the start of the season. “The team is a getting a lot better and they are going the right direction,” said Nomicos. “We have won four out of the past seven games and the game against West Valley is still pending because we got called after 12 innings due to darkness.”

Nomicos talked about how the team is improving: “They’re playing a lot more together, because we are a young team they need to play more. They are getting stronger. More of pitching and defense.”

He went on to say that playing more home games would be give them an advantage when it comes to getting into conferences.

Coach Nomicos said that his game plan against De Anza is much the same as against any other team. “We want good pitching, throwing more strikes, getting ahead in counts gives a better chance of winning and defense.”

At the top of the first inning after issuing a one out walk, Skyline starting pitcher Aiden Yarwood made a couple of good pitches to get the next two batters to grounded out and flied out. They were able to set the pace for the game.

In the bottom of the first inning, Skyline was given a rally for free when De Anza’s starting pitcher opened the inning with strikeout. Then he walked the next three batters on 12 straight balls to load the bases. Eventually, he would walk first baseman Mitchel Swanson who scored the first run of the game for Skyline. The opposing pitchers struggled to continue as he walked in another run.

However, Skyline could not get a single hit that inning as the following two hitters would ground out and strikeout.

The game headed to the top of the second with Skyline with a 2-0 lead.

Then Skyline pitcher Aiden Yarwood allowed hits to the first three batters for De Anza as they reached base and got a run across. The lead got cut to 2-1. After De Anza players loaded the bases Skyline got a boost from their defense as they turned a comeback to the mound into a 1-2-3 double play.

Unfortunately, after that, Skyline’s defense pick-off attempt got away from the third baseman the run scored home. It was a tie game at the top of the second inning with a score of 2-2.

Then in the bottom of the second inning, Skyline leadman of the inning was issued a walk, but the next two hitters could not get any offense going, until the third baseman Kaimana Bartolome hit a down-the-line double giving Skyline the lead once again.

Skyline flexed their strong pitching and in-tune defense as they produced a shutdown inning.

At the bottom of the third, the Skyline offense scraped out another run by a sacrifice fly and the game would head into the top of the fourth where Skyline faltered again.

After a couple hits and poor defense De Anza had the bases loaded and they got a three-run inning as De Anza would take back the lead at 5-4.

This game’s theme of back and forth was exciting to watch as each team would score in response to the other.

However, Skyline had one last chance to respond at the bottom of the eighth inning while the score was 8-7 in favor of De Anza. Skyline had a man on third with one out but failed to score when a push bunt was poorly executed by Left fielder Kaleb Keelean. Shorts Stop Chas Verduzco was called out at home.

Then the game got out of touch for Skyline in the top the ninth after a homerun by De Anza. Skyline could not overcome all their six defensive errors as they would eventually fall to De Anza 11-7.

Infielder Anthony (Tony) Masetti discussed the back-and-forth momentum of the game: “As we went on, we were going through a tough time.”

Masetti said the game was “definitely mental”. “We had a couple ground balls by the defense that got by them… You heard the other dugout (DeAnza) that they were loud and they stay loud and throughout the game we got quieter.”

Outfielder Joey Pledger said, “We need to work on mental mistakes. We were in and out and just be better mentally through the game.”

Pledger said the team is working on staying engaged with each other by “tightly bonding”. “We are playing more as a team, instead of the individual. We came here as the individual but now we are becoming the team.”