The Gavilan baseball team is on the brink of making the playoffs for the first time since 1979. A crucial part of the Rams success this season has been its veteran staff and it’s talented core of newcomers, including (from left), sophomores Erik Barron, G

Two years ago, Gavilan was on the brink of making history.
It was in the hunt for its first playoff berth since 1979 and had a team loaded with talented freshmen. But the Rams fizzled out and went 5-10 to end the season, falling just short of the postseason.
The current Rams, several of whom were on that 2013 team, are having déjà vu this season. Except this time they are older, wiser and determined not to let history repeat itself.
“I think freshman year we kind of got used to winning and we stopped trying versus every team; we kind of assumed we were going to beat everybody,” sophomore pitcher Gabe Katich said. “This year, our mentality has changed. We know we’ve got to compete.”
Gavilan had its struggles last season as injuries left the team shorthanded on the mound and on defense. It finished 12-24 overall and in second to last place in the Coast Pacific Conference.
The Rams are light years ahead of that this year, currently sitting in second place in their conference with a 17-10 overall record (update following Tuesday’s game) with seven games to go.
Head coach Neal Andrade credits the success to getting his veterans, like Katich and 2013 Pitcher of the Year Erik Barron, back and healthy for the long haul.
“Pitching and defense: this is what we pride ourselves on,” Andrade said. “The key to our success is on the mound and with the gloves on defense.”
But that doesn’t mean this team can’t hit.
Gavilan has six players on its roster with batting averages over .300.
Two of them have slugging percentages over .500: Christopher alum Bryant Cid (.519) and Barron (.575).
Of the Rams’ 10 losses, a single run decided four and the same is true of their wins. Gavilan has edged out its opponents by a single run in four of its victories—two of which went into extra innings.
The attitude in the Rams’ dugout is clear: they fight until the end.
“Before every game, we talk about how we should play like it’s the last time you’ll ever step on the field again,” Cid said. “It’s just continuing to fight and never taking a play off.”
Tenacity on the field is only part of the equation for success, however. Barron said team chemistry was an issue the last two seasons but not anymore. These Rams are more than teammates, they’re brothers.
“I think the key for this season is the team chemistry,” Barron said. “Our first year we didn’t really have team chemistry and last year we didn’t see a lot of it either. This year we’re playing well together on the field and off the field.”
While some of the Rams have years of experience together, more than half the team is made up of freshmen.
Brennan Wilson, a freshman from Christopher, said their older counterparts have taken them under their wings and that has allowed the new Rams to flourish.
“I’ve been seeing how these guys play and kind of learning from that,” Wilson said. “I’m hoping I can take that into next year. I’m trying my best this year to see what I can do to help out the team.”
The freshmen, coming from all over the Bay Area and beyond, have been crucial for Gavilan this year. Wilson, for instance, has scored 12 runs—the third most on the team. Tony Amaral and Edgar Arriola, freshmen from San Benito, have accounted for 21 runs and nine RBIs, respectively.
“If you look at our roster, its kind of a hodge-podge of high schools and areas that they come from,” Andrade said. “Once they step here, they’re all Gavilan Rams and they’re under my tutelage.”
With just three weeks left in the season, Gavilan is looking to make the postseason for the first time in 36 years. Whether the Rams do or don’t, Andrade said the most important thing is knowing they gave it their all.
“There’s no shoulda, woulda, coulda after those three weeks,” the Gavilan coach said. “We practiced hard, we played hard, we competed. At the end of the season, wherever the chips fall, they fall. It’s not due to lack of effort.”

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