Based on Brad Degnan’s performance Wednesday, it would seem like the San Carlos Joe DiMaggio slugger does not like to DH.
San Carlos remained unbeaten through six games this season with a 7-1 win over the Barbarians of San Francisco, and Degnan was the driving force. After starting the game as the team’s designated hitter, Degnan was moved into center field following his first at-bat in which he rolled a harmless groundout to second base.
The sweet-swinging Degnan ultimately went 2 for 4 with a double and home run. This on the heels of hitting for the cycle over two games Sunday in a double-header sweep of Burlingame.
“He just loves to swing,” San Carlos manager Brian Ramsey said.
Degnan actually requested to serve as the team’s designated hitter Wednesday, but an injury to starting left fielder Conner Sick forced Ramsey to reconfigure his defense after the first inning. And with San Carlos holding a 1-0 advantage through three innings, Degnan emerged as a force both sides of the ball.
In the top of the fourth — an inning in which the Barbarians stranded the bases loaded without scoring — Degnan effortlessly chased down a low liner off the bat of Brandon Balladares.
“He plays it effortlessly,” Ramsey said. “That’s what’s nice about it. He isn’t trying to hard. He plays the game effortlessly.”
Then after San Carlos starting pitcher Sean Yao escaped the jam unscathed, Degnan led off the bottom of the frame by scorching a double to right-center, sparking a three-run rally to give his starting pitcher some breathing room.
After San Carlos sent nine batters to the plate in the fourth, Degnan led off the fifth with a booming drive over the right fielder and motored all the way around for the round tripper.
In his third year with San Carlos, Degnan has impressed San Carlos’ fifth-year manager both on and off the field.
“He’s just been a good kid,” Ramsey said. “Everything we ask him to do, he’s done it.”
Yao went four shutout innings to earn the win in his first start of the season. He has been the workhorse out of the San Carlos bullpen this season, pitching in nearly every game.
“He’s the type of arm that can throw a lot of innings because his arm never bothers him,” Ramsey said. “We were planning on just throwing him every game (in relief).”
San Carlos’ Antonio Arellano closed it out. The big right-hander worked two innings, allowing one run on two hits. Having just wrapped up his junior season at Sequoia, Arellano didn’t pitch for the Cherokees this season due to the exceptionally deep staff that helped the team to the Central Coast Section semifinals.
“We had a large seniors pitching staff,” Arellano said. “We had (Peninsula Athletic Bay Division) Pitcher of the Year Kyle Cambron, first-team All Leaguer Cameron Greenough. We were pretty deep in senior pitchers and no junior pitchers got to pitch this year.”
With Cambron and Greenough both graduating, Arellano figures to be a key component for the Sequoia pitching staff next season, he said.
“I’m going to be probably the main pitcher next year,” Arellano said. “I’m just trying to maintain my form and do my thing.”
San Carlos also has a stacked pitching staff this season. Derek Azzopardi and Joe Pratt have emerged as the mainstays of the starting rotation. Pratt is fresh off serving as Carlmont’s No. 2 starter, posting a 4-3 record and a 2.62 ERA over 42 2/3 innings as a junior for the Scots. Azzopardi just finished his sophomore season at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Barbarians got solid performances from their Lick-Wilmerding tandem of Balladares and Frankie Lewis. Despite having a potential hit taken away from him by Degnan in the fourth, Balladares was 2 for 4 on the evening. Lewis, the Barbarians’ starting pitcher, surrendered four runs over four innings to take the loss. But he kept San Carlos in check through the first three innings.
In addition to Degnan, Mike Michelini and Diego Arellano had two hits apiece for San Carlos. Max Michelini had a two-run single in the fourth. Azzopardi drilled a triple to left-center in the fifth.