By Anthony Fusaro
City College baseball head coach John Vanoncini cited the impact of returning experienced players as the reason for an optimistic outlook on the Rams 2012 campaign. Unfortunately, his team had a rough home opener to kick off its 2012 preseason, losing to the Laney College Eagles 12-7.
“I was happy with [the team's] effort,” Vanoncini said after the game. “The guys didn’t quit and they fought all the way through.”
The game was close early on, with the Rams grabbing a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as first baseman Tim Cusick drove in freshman Tony Castellanos from second on a hit and run play.
The Eagles answered with an inside the park homer to right field, which had no fence up to stop the ball, in the top of the second to tie the game.
The Rams were held scoreless in the bottom half of the inning, then Laney added three more runs in the top of the third to open up their early lead. The Rams, as they did throughout the entire game, fought back scoring two runs of their own in the third, to make the game 4-3.
Laney added two more runs to their lead in the top of the 4th as the Rams headed into the bottom half of the inning. Sophomore shortstop Anthony Lazalde delivered a hit to drive in Castllanos, then Lazalde promptly advanced to second off a passed ball and stole third. This set up an RBI single by one of the Rams top returning hitters, Right fielder Cody Silveria, cutting the Laney lead to one.
After a scoreless fifth, Laney pulled away, scoring one run in the sixth inning and three in the seventh, making the lead 10-5. City was never able to mount a threatening comeback and was defeated.
After the game, Coach John Vanoncini talked about his team’s effort. “[We] left the ball up… And at this level if you leave the ball up, their going to hit it,” Coach Vanoncini said after the game.
The season still is bright for the Rams, who are a major improvement from the 2011 injury plagued team which posted a disappointing 5-30 (2-20) season.
The team returns right fielder Cody Silveria, who hit .324 last season before being sidelined by an injury.
Another reason to be enthusiastic about this year, Coach Vanoncini mentioned, is the addition of some new freshman players such as third baseman Kyle Martinez and Tony Castellanos. Castellanos showed signs of good things to come in his first game in a City College uniform, reaching base on 4 of his 5 plate appearances including a double and a stolen base.
The Rams will finish their preseason with series against Los Medanos, Napa Valley, and Gavilan this February before opening Coast Conference play against Mission Feb. 28.