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Degnan is in a groove
March 25, 2014, 05:00 AM By Terry Bernal Daily Journal

Daily Journal Sports File
Woodside’s Brad Degnan, who earned a mention in ‘Sports Illustrated’ following his three homers in one inning against Westmoor last year, is off to a hot start this season. He was 7 for 11 with four doubles, four runs scored and five RBIs in three games last week.

Quick quiz: Who is the only current Peninsula Athletic League player to ever get a mention in Sports Illustrated?

After the astonishing feat of hitting three home runs in one inning on April 18, 2013 against Westmoor, Woodside’s Brad Degnan earned a mention in the Time Warner mag. The left-handed slugger has hit safely in 14-of-16 games since that legendary day.

Last week, Degnan kept on swinging it to the tune of 7 for 11 with five RBIs, four doubles and four runs. Anchoring the No. 3 spot in the batting order, Degnan helped propel the Wildcats to their first two wins of the season as they got off to a 2-0 start in Ocean Division play. It’s for these reasons Degnan has been named the San Mateo Daily Journal Athlete of the Week.

It was a non-league schedule to forget for Woodside heading into last week’s two-game series with Mills. The Wildcats were winless through their first seven games and have since added a 5-2 loss Saturday in a non-league matchup at Sacred Heart Prep. Woodside has faced some tough customers though with losses against Menlo, Burlingame, St. Ignatius and twice against Menlo-Atherton.

“We started off really slow, obviously,” Degnan said. “I think in the preseason we played a lot of upper division teams … and our defense has been really poor. We’ve been making a lot of errors. But we’ve been hitting well all season.”

The Wildcats entered into play Saturday batting .285 as a team. And Degnan has been their most prolific hitter by far. The fourth-year-varsity senior is currently batting .486 (17 for 35) with two home runs and 14 RBIs.

But while Degnan continues to produce at the plate as he always has — he is hitting .443 since the outset of his sophomore year — perhaps the most interesting development as of late has been in the field as, for the first time in his life, Degnan dawned the tools of ignorance this season.

With an injury to regular catcher Shawn Stafford, Degnan took over behind the dish for the Wildcats. He caught six games, including Woodside’s opening-day loss to M-A. Having a lot of friends who play for the Bears, there were a lot of strange looks from opposing batters when they came to the plate.

“The whole team was like, ‘What are you doing there?’” Degnan said.

It was actually Degnan who hit the ball that landed Stafford on the disabled list to start the year. The two were taking batting practice in the batting cage at Woodside when Stafford was struck in the face by a line drive. The junior suffered a concussion and multiple breaks to his cheekbone, Degnan said.

Woodside manager Tim Faulkner put his superstar behind the plate not for atonement but because Degnan owns one of the best arms on the team. While filling in for his injured teammate, Degnan said he didn’t have a lot of fun behind the plate. The exception was when he was throwing out opposing base runners, of which he gunned down two.

Since being reactivated, Stafford immediately made an impact by hitting .600 (6 for 10) in his first three games. Paired with Woodside’s undefeated start in Ocean Division play, Degnan is optimistic about making a senior-season run at the Central Coast Section playoffs.

“I think we’re pushing forward,” Degnan said. “I think we’re just getting started and we’re only going to get better.”




Tags: degnan, batting, woodside, since, games, stafford,

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