Sobrato High senior first baseman/pitcher Ethan Marmie will be looked upon to help lead the Bulldogs out of a slow start and into a respectable finish in the BVAL Mount Hamilton Division. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.

Off to its roughest start in recent memory, the Sobrato High baseball team can still turn things around if their mental approach changes. 

“The players’ heads were down, they don’t have the belief they can win yet,” Bulldogs coach James Pozas said after a 15-4, mercy-rule loss to Willow Glen on March 22. “But they’ll get there. They’ll be fine.”

After that game, Sobrato played Willow Glen again to complete the home-and-home set and lost, 6-0. That dropped the Bulldogs to 1-5-1 overall and 0-4 in Blossom Valley Athletic League Mount Hamilton Division play. Even though things look bleak, Pozas said he believes in the team’s talent and wouldn’t be surprised to see if they made a run soon. 

After all, they do have quality frontline starters in Ethan Marmie and Seth Hernstedt, the latter who is incrementally getting his pitch count up returning from injury. Pozas said enduring all of the rainouts in the first three weeks of March not only postponed games, but wiped out outdoor practices, which threw the team out of sync. 

Even though every team has to deal with the same issues, it seems to have affected Sobrato on a more intense level. 

“We’ve had a lot of struggles,” Pozas said. “Ethan had his first game vs. Westmont and one other, and it gets down to where he’s going to start another game and it gets rained out. So he’s a little rusty right now because it’s hard to get into a rhythm. We move practice to indoor facilities, but it’s not the same.”

Michael “Junior” Balderas, a junior outfielder, has been hitting well and also made a terrific defensive play in center field when he tracked down a sinking flyball in left-center in the first Willow Glen contest. The catch displayed Balderas’ tremendous range as he went a long way on a hit that seemingly was going to go for extra bases. 

Balderas was hitting in the No. 2 spot and was followed by junior left fielder Lucas Gabbani and senior utility Matt Primeau. 

“Junior has been playing well, Gabbani is hitting, Primeau is solid,” Pozas said. “We’ve got some kids on this team that can really play and I have very high hopes for.”

Sobrato also looks to receive contributions from Anthony Sullivan, DJ Vallejos, Reilly Hauck, Javier Alvarado, Quentin Hagen, Scott Diaz and Nathan Cohen. The Bulldogs have been making situations worse for themselves with wild pitches and errors, though they do have their moments such as when Marmie snagged a liner at first base vs. Willow Glen.

“We need to catch the ball and throw the ball,” Pozas said. “We put ourselves in big holes and that’s where things spiral out of control.”

Playing in the ultra-tough A-league Mount Hamilton Division, Sobrato has little margin for error. Pozas also said the team’s mental toughness has to catch up with their physical skills. 

“I just think they have a little [mental] block that they have to overcome to get into a rhythm,” he said. “They have to tie the mental to the physical; they have the physical tools. I don’t have the core [group] that I had last year, so it’s on me, too. I have to coach them up, figure where they belong and hopefully things will come along. We’ll be alright. We’ll make a turnaround.”

Michael “Junior” Balderas figures to be a key player if Sobrato manages to turn around its season. Photo by J. Natividad.
Previous articleMorgan Hill earns clean energy grants
Next articleLetters: Relocate downtown Morgan Hill; Crime victims in tough spot
Emanuel Lee primarily covers sports for Weeklys/NewSVMedia's Los Gatan publication. Twenty years of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40, counts himself as a true disciple of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here