Baseball Stunned on Scoring Steal

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Casey Miller, News Editor

Top seeded and defending four-time section champions, varsity baseball was stunned by 16th seed Casa Grande in the first round of the NCS playoffs on May 21. The only run of the game came on a risky steal of home plate.

The Cougars, who are accustomed to scoring runs, were shut out over the 7 innings. Coach Max Luckhurst said, “Obviously, I was hoping they’d play a little bit better. We just didn’t hit well enough.”

Junior Adam Remotto, the team’s main catcher, said, “That was the second time we’d seen that pitcher, and we just tried to do too much. Instead of just hitting the ball like we normally do, we tried to hit home runs. Our approaches weren’t really what they normally are.”

Casa Grande’s scorning play was unusual. “They just had a trick play that they used on us, and that’s the only way they scored,” Remotto added. ” When we played them earlier in the year, we won on a walk-off hit, basically. We had seen the pitcher and we knew he was good, so we knew it was going to be a tough game. The pitcher was the main struggle.”

Luckhurst lauded Matt LaDrech’s efforts on the mound for the Cougars. “[LaDrech] gave up one run on a steal at home, he never gave up an RBI and no one drove the ball home,” he said.

Team manager and senior Andrew Hissen was upset by the first-round loss, but impressed with the team’s season. “I just felt pretty disappointed that we lost. But I’m proud of the effort we put in the league, that we beat Acalanes, Miramonte. I’m really proud of my boys and I’m really thankful for Max [Luckhurst] for being a good coach and helping the boys improve their skills,” Hissen said.

The early end to the season does not diminish the team’s body of work.  “I think we had a great season, We did a lot more than we expected, but we didn’t really get the result we wanted out of it,” Remotto said.

“That’s baseball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” athletic director Tom Renno said. “The kids played great. They ran into a good pitcher who played a great game. The boys have played great all year, and we’re real proud of them.”

Remotto said, “The biggest thing next year is going to be to continue with the great pitching we’ve always had. Hopefully we have a couple of freshmen and sophomores stepping up to play key roles in the outfield and on the mound [next year].”