Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Redwood City Blues pitcher Chris Atkeson held San Carlos to just three hits through five
innings of work. The Blues beat the Seals 14-1 in a non-league game Wednesday.
You know it’s early in the summer baseball season when players in one dugout are still introducing themselves to each other, and in the other dugout, all 11 players in attendance are in the hitting lineup.
That was the case Wednesday when the Redwood City American Legion Post 82 Blues hosted the San Carlos Joe DiMaggio Seals in a non-league game at Sacred Heart Prep. While neither team was at full strength because of school and graduation, the Blues still made a pretty good statement with a 14-1 win.
"It was a great start,” said Redwood City manager Tim Goode.
After San Carlos scratched out an unearned run in the top of the first, Redwood City took the lead for good three runs in the bottom of the frame. The Blues added two more in the second and after being kept off the scoreboard in the third, broke the game wide open with a six-run fourth. They added three more in the sixth for the final margin of victory.
Redwood City didn’t exactly pound the ball around the yard — the Blues finished with just six hits. But they drew nine walks and took advantage of four San Carlos errors during that six-run fourth inning.
That was more than enough offensive support for Redwood City pitcher Chris Atkeson, who pitched five strong innings in earning the win. Atkeson, out of Menlo School, allowed one unearned run, giving up just three hits. He struck out only one, which meant San Carlos was putting the ball in play. Other than a first-inning error, the Blues’ defense was solid behind Atkeson.
"He did a great job,” Goode said of Atkeson’s performance. "Our pitching is pretty good.”
That fact was backed up by Zane Gelphman, who pitched the final two innings in relief of Atkeson, retiring all six batters he faced.
The walks really killed the San Carlos pitching staff. Given a 1-0 lead after half an inning, Seals’ starter Gino Mazzoni walked the first two batters in the bottom of the first. Jake Batchelder followed with a double to drive in Graham Stratford. Joe Klein scored on a Tyler Vau Dell sacrifice fly and Batchelder ended up scoring on a wild pitch to give Redwood City a 3-1 lead after one inning.
After scoring their team’s first two runs, Graham and Klein each drove in a run in the bottom of the second. Liam Clifford scored when Stratford’s foul ball was caught, but he still managed to tag up and score. Klein’s single plated Christian Pluchar. Both Clifford and Pluchar walked to start the inning.
In the fourth, Redwood City sent 11 batters to plate. The Blues scored six runs in the inning, but only two were earned. Vau Dell had the big hit, driving in a pair with a two-out single and the next four runs were the result of San Carlos errors.
Klein and Batchelder each drove in their second runs of the game in the bottom of the sixth and another run scored on a balk.
"We’re extremely young,” Goode said. "But they’re good, aggressive. We’re fast.”
Stratford showed just how fast as he made a diving catch in center field in the second, robbing Mazzoni of a hit. In the seventh, Stratford chased down a Colton Hicks drive into the right-center field gap.
While some organizations and players look at the summer season as a chance to have some fun and play no-pressure baseball, Goode and the Post 105 program don’t operate that way.
"We’re playing hard and getting better,” Goode said. "We’re playing to win. We want to contest every single thing. You don’t get better going through the motions. (We want to) play hard 30 times and be better by September.”
Burlingame 7, San Bruno 1
Drew Ramirez allowed only one run while Nick Waldsmith and Manny Serrano had two hits apiece as Burlingame beat San Bruno in Peninsula American Legion action Wednesday at Washington Park.
Merrick Belding, Matt Berriatua and Serrano each drove in a run for Burlingame, which scored single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings before putting the game away with a three-run sixth.
Alex Cordova took the loss for San Bruno, but also doubled on offense. Rory McDaid added a pair hits for San Bruno.