By Teddy Luther
City College’s baseball team split two games with West Valley College. After winning 9-1 at West Valley on April 21, the Rams dropped the April 23 bill 6-0 at home.
Before losing the game, the Rams had won three out of their last seven. While that may not seem like a major accomplishment, it’s done wonders for the confidence of a young team that is 5-27-1 overall this year.
“When we come to play, we can beat any of these teams. It’s just a consistency issue. I think the morale went up when we won those two games,” assistant coach Mario Mendoza said, referring to wins earlier this month over De Anza College and the top team in the conference, Mission College.
The consistency issues can partly be attributed to the team losing its top two pitchers to injury before the season even started.
Because of the injuries, a number of pitchers were thrown into more significant roles than they were expected to play.
“That’s what got us off track this year,” Mendoza said. “It takes a year to get used to the speed of the level. Now they’re starting to get used to their roles, and they’re pitching a lot better.”
Both starters in last week’s games pitched well. Sophomore Steve Sagasty threw a complete game in the win, giving up just one run while striking out six.
The middle of the lineup provided more than enough support for Sagasty. The 3-4-5 hitters in the order combined to go 9-for-14 with five runs scored and six RBIs. Sophomore shortstop Branden Oropeza added to his team-leading RBI total of 16 while freshman catcher Bobby Chu hit his first homerun of the season.
Freshman Abe Villafana threw the ball well despite his team’s loss. Aside from a rough third inning that saw West Valley put up three runs, Villafana, who lead the team with a 3.57 ERA, was lights out.
West Valley managed just four hits in 6 ⅓ innings against him, making the most of their opportunities with men on base in the third.
“I felt good,” he said following the loss. “I felt like I didn’t have a little command of my fastball out of the gate but other than that my arm felt good.”
Unfortunately, the Rams’ offense was unable to get going. They went a combined 2-for-11 with runners on base.
The Rams aim to overcome their offensive shortcomings and end the season on a high note against their rivals from College of San Mateo.
“I always try to tell them, ‘Finish everything strong,’” Mendoza said. “San Mateo might have a chance to make the playoffs, so I’m telling my guys to play the game like it’s a playoff game. Go out and see what happens.”
Following his gem last week, Sagasty is slated to pitch the final game of the year for the Rams on April 28 at City’s home field, Fairmont Park in Pacifica at 1 p.m.