The Sobrato High baseball team had rolled through the first four games of the Blossom Valley League season, outscoring its opponents by a combined margin of 59-14. On Monday, however, the Bulldogs learned the hard way that they have to be mentally prepared for every game following a 4-1 loss to Prospect.
“Absolutely, you can’t take any days off,” coach James Pozas said. “This is a wakeup call because the boys had been rolling.”
Prospect starter Emanuel Jeffrey allowed just six hits and had the Sobrato batters swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, especially in the early innings.
“We haven’t faced a crafty lefty like that this year, and he got us,” Pozas said.
Despite the loss, Sobrato remains in good shape to repeat as the Santa Teresa Division champions. The last time a season was fully contested—in 2019—the Bulldogs went 13-1 in division play and earned a Central Coast Section playoff berth. They’re looking for more of the same this season. At 5-2 overall and 4-1 in league play, Sobrato is well on its way to doing just that.
“We’ll bounce back, trust me,” Pozas said. “There are no worries in that department.”
Sobrato scored its only run in the top of the seventh inning. Matt Primeau singled with one out and advanced to second base on Shane Callison’s groundout. Thomas Martinelli, who had a team-best two hits, followed with an infield single that allowed Primeau to score. However, Jeffrey recorded a strikeout moments later to seal the outcome.
Martinelli, a 6-foot, 175-pound junior, hits for average and power and has a robust on-base percentage. He possesses other attributes as well.
“He’s probably stolen 10 bags already,” Pozas said. “He’s legitimate.”
Indeed, Martinelli stole a base in the third inning despite Jeffrey guessing right and throwing to first to keep Martinelli close. Primeau has also been carrying a potent bat along with Callison and Will Nikitas. Catcher Tyler Pina has been a stalwart at catcher and has had plenty of quality at-bats.
William Conn is an impact player both on the mound and at the plate. He hit a double against Prospect and had the best start of his career on Saturday in a 3-1 win over Gilroy. Pozas said Conn struck out 16—yes, 16—batters in a complete-game performance.
“He’s a crafty lefty who can also throw hard,” Pozas said. “He’s a smart pitcher, and that outing was impressive. I think he struck out 10 in a row at one point. It was something to see.”
Callison pitched against Prospect and went the full six innings, yielding just one earned run. Sobrato committed two errors that led to three unearned runs. Despite the shaky defense behind him, Callison never showed frustration—at least not outwardly—and kept on attacking the hitters.
“Shane is probably the most cerebral player on the team,” Pozas said. “He gave me what he had, which was a lot. … It was an off day defensively, and just a total anomaly to not score more runs. No excuses. We just didn’t show up.”
Seth Herdenstet, Callison and Conn headline the starting rotation. The trio has been downright dominant at times and should prove consistent the rest of the way. Callison has also been a sparkplug at the top of the lineup since he was a freshman. Pozas said it’s a joy for him to coach the team because they genuinely pull for each other.
“They’re a true brotherhood,” he said. “There is nothing fake about that. It’s a real tight-knit group even outside of baseball. I don’t have to really straighten anybody out because they do it all themselves—it’s all self done.”