Terry Bernal/File Photo
Ramon Enriquez has been a force both sides of the plate for San Bruno.
The San Bruno boys are at it again.
The San Bruno Colt League All-Stars have surged into the third tier of the postseason. Advancing through the Peninsula Colt League Section Tournament and the Northern California Super Region Tournament, San Bruno begins play in the West Zone Tournament Saturday at San Jose PAL Stadium.
Comprised mostly of players from Capuchino — but also with some West Catholic Athletic League up-and-comers on the roster — the San Bruno All-Stars had their backs up against the wall in Super Region play after dropping the third game of the double-elimination tournament 11-5 to the Campbell Red Sox.
But San Bruno won three straight to capture the Region title, outscoring its opponents 29-7 over the final three games, including back-to-back victories against the Red Sox in the championship-round rematch July 21 and 22.
“Everyone is clicking and hitting the ball,” San Bruno manager Zach Dornell said. “Our team is basically one person. There’s not one person that does things on their own. … They are a good group of kids.”
Dornell is in his fourth year at the helm of the All-Stars, having served in alternate years going back to 2005. This is the first time one of Dornell’s teams has advanced to the West Zone Tournament.
San Bruno’s lineup is bolstered by the heart of the batting order which includes Capuchino standouts Ramon Enriquez and Antonio Martinucci, with Riordan’s Kevin Uniacke sandwiched between them in the cleanup spot.
Enriquez has been a cornerstone player both sides of the ball, according to Dornell. The catcher put himself on the map behind the plate for Capuchino as a sophomore this season, hitting .337 while winning two legs of the team triple crown with three home runs and 25 RBIs.
Also an excellent defensive catcher, Enriquez only took to the squat for the Mustangs after junior Felix Aberouette transferred to Serra. Otherwise, Enriquez would have been relegated to a corner infield position. Now with the San Bruno All-Stars, he has solidified himself as a bona fide catcher. He has started all but one of 11 games for San Bruno. And he is even doing much of the team’s pitch calling.
“I think he’s one of the top kids in the county,” Dornell said. “He does all the little things right. … He’s got a great attitude. He’s got great hustle. He’s one of the best players I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching.”
But the unsung hero for San Bruno has been second baseman Ben Godfrey. The 15-year-old out of Serra started the Colt League All-Star season as a utility player, but has been hot with the bat — having made just two outs this season, according to Dornell — by virtue of which Godfrey has forced his way into the starting lineup.
“He’s worked himself into a starting role because every time we bring him in he gets a hit,” Dornell said.
Godfrey’s biggest hit of the season came in the sixth inning of a scoreless game against the Campbell Giants in the Super Region tourney. With runners on first and second, Godfrey was asked to sacrifice; but he executed a perfect bunt down the third-base line and hustled for an infield hit to load the bases.
San Bruno went on to score eight runs in the inning to win by a comfortable 8-1 margin.
“That just sparked our offense,” Dornell said. “Ever since that game … we haven’t looked back.”
The pitching staff also gave a gutsy performance to propel San Bruno to the three-game win streak to seal the Region title. Oscar-Martin Munoz went 6 1/3 innings in a 9-6 win over Ceres in the first game of a July 21 doubleheader. Martinucci fired a five-inning shutout against the Red Sox in the nightcap, as San Bruno triumphed 10-0 via mercy rule. In the decisive rematch with the Red Sox on July 22, Jesse Palafox threw a regulation complete game to earn the win in San Bruno’s 10-1 victory.
The West Zone Tournament spans through Tuesday, featuring eight teams: Chandler, Arizona; Kirkland, Washington; Hilo, Hawaii; San Bernardino; Riverside; San Jose PAL; last season’s national champion Los Gatos Legends; and San Bruno. The winner of the tourney advances to the Colt League World Series in Lafayette, Indiana.
The San Bruno All-Stars are donning familiar uniforms modeled after Stanford University’s signature look of white with Cardinal-red lettering. The look is the brainchild of regular-season San Bruno Rotary manager Scott Zayak.
Zayak initially intended the uniforms for his old regular-season team, the San Bruno Orioles, Dornell said. However, the team’s former sponsor demanded the uniforms maintain the traditional green synonymous with Capuchino’s team colors, Dornell said. So, the San Bruno All-Stars adopted the Stanford look instead.
The San Bruno All-Stars are comprised of players from the Rotary and Orioles squads.