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March 20, 2014

Rounding the Bases

Wilcox relies on strong pitching. California is hitting its way past opponents. Both have led to fast starts and spots in the NCP Top 20. We caught up with both programs as they start league play.

Pitching is the name of the game for Wilcox, which has given up less than two runs per game during its 8-1 start. This run includes a 10-3 win over Mitty in the Chargers' Mike Hazlett Tournament. Some of their top arms are Justin Contreras, Robert Gaylord and Andrew Najeed Brush.

"Our pitching has been really good. We've had a bunch of guys contribute," Wilcox head coach Paul Rosa said.

Wilcox has won at least 20 games in six of the last seven seasons under Paul Rosa. It starts De Anza League action this week with a two game set against Palo Alto. With three different champions in the last three years, the league race is worth following.

"It is the deepest our league has ever been. Six teams could win the league," Rosa said.

Grizzlies start hot on offense

Pitching dominates high school baseball, but Cal is using a different formula for its 5-0 start. The Grizzlies are averaging more than nine runs per game with a 7-5 win over Campolindo being the signature result.

"We're much more offensive than we were last year," California head coach Chad Ross said. "We have the ability to drive the ball and to put up a big inning more consistently."

It starts with Cameron Santos (Chico State), who is hitting .474 with three home runs and six RBI to go along with stellar defense.

"He's been great for us. He's doing a lot of things to help us win," Ross said. "He's the catalyst for our team."

Joining Santos on the hot start is Austin Chauvin (St. Mary's), Nick Allman (Fresno State) and Jake Ackerman. The Grizzlies also rely on a catching duo of AJ Velasquez and JD McDonnell.

The East Bay Athletic League trek begins Friday with preseason favorite De La Salle and the start of a new season for Ross and the Grizzlies.

"Every single team is well-coached and every single team has good players. You have to be ready to compete. It's so much fun. It's the best," Ross said.

News & Notes

The West Catholic Athletic League opened up on Tuesday highlighted by a 5-2 win for St. Ignatius over top ranked St. Francis. In other action, Bellarmine stayed perfect with a 3-2 win over Valley Christian-San Jose. Mitty jumped out to an 8-0 lead en route to beating Serra 9-7. Riordan beat Sacred Heart Cathedral 5-4.

Pleasant Grove added another impressive win beating Davis (7-1) on Tuesday. Matt Stafford had a home run and Nico Toni went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Dalton Gomez pitched 4.2 innings of one run ball to pick up the win. The Eagles will travel to Granite Bay on March 25.

In a North Coast Section vs. Sac-Joaquin Section battle, De La Salle downed Jesuit (8-5) to move to 4-1 on the year. The Spartans pounded out 11 hits, including multi-hit games from Austin Dondanville, Chris Williams and Dustin Miller. In all three on-field wins, they have scored at least eight runs.


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