College of San Mateo has a promising arm on the way in right-hander Asantay Wilson.
A recent graduate of Mission-San Francisco, Wilson was the highlight for a Daly City Joe DiMaggio squad that dropped a 4-2 decision to the SF Cardinals Wednesday night at Marchbank Park.
With his Daly City squad trailing 4-1 in the sixth inning, Wilson took over in relief of starting pitcher Tim Sweeters and fired one perfect frame, flashing high-velocity stuff in striking out two.
“It’s been nice to have him, especially when we have leads,” Daly City manager Chris Quintana said. “He knows how to shut an inning down.”
Wilson has pitched with leads plenty this summer. Even with Wednesday’s loss — and in finishing up the season series by dropping two of three games to the Cardinals — Daly City (9-3) is still holding on for first place in the San Francisco League standings. The Cardinals (9-4-1) are in second place, now just a half game back.
Until Wilson emerged in the sixth inning, Wednesday was one of Daly City’s worst showings of the season. The team had plenty of opportunities to score, stranding nine runners in the game, including leaving the bases loaded in each the third and the fourth.
Fundamentally, Daly City looked lackadaisical, with a runner at third base forgetting to tag up with one out on a deep fly ball in the third, and a batter getting a mere single after hitting a ball over the left-fielder’s head in the fourth.
“It was a preparation thing today,” Quintana said. “We’ve been playing good baseball. … Sometimes you get a team that comes in and plays good baseball too. It happens. Lowell is in second place for a reason. Sometimes that happens … but it’s a disappointing loss, for sure.”
Wilson had a miscue too, dropping a can-of-corn fly ball to left field in the fifth. The error, though, didn’t come back to haunt Daly City. And Wilson, just the next inning, looked determined to pitch his team back into the game, showcasing the high-80s velocity on his fastball without using his changeup or curveball.
“Their whole thing is, if they can’t touch it, why throw anything else,” Wilson said. “But it’s still important to mix in my other pitches.”
The right-hander has been attending summer practice for CSM and intends to play there in 2020. A two-way player through high school — he attended Burton-SF for three years until transferring to Mission as a senior — he said he’d like to do the same in college.
“Two-way is definitely an option for me but they want me as a pitcher,” Wilson said. “I’m so excited. I can’t wait.”
Wilson’s transfer to Mission was due to his wanting to guarantee a chance to play varsity baseball as a senior. Burton ultimately fielded a team, but there were doubts it would happen when Wilson finished his junior season in 2018. He had already missed his sophomore season when Burton did not field a team in 2017.
Still, Wilson stayed busy of his own accord through his sophomore season.
“Just training on my own,” Wilson said, “going down to the local park and just hitting.”
Wilson has always stayed busy on the baseball field though. Last summer, he played with two local summer teams concurrently, being on roster with both the Daly City Colt League team and the SF Barbarians Joe D team. He played seven days a week through the summer of 2018, and continues to take few, if any, days off this summer, he said.
“None,” Wilson said. “Literally none. It’s like that now.”
Daly City nearly rallied behind Wilson in the top of the seventh inning. Trailing 4-1, Brian Kahmar (2 for 3) drew a one-out walk. Jason Quinones followed with a double to right-center. Wilson then grounded out to second to drive home Kahmar, moving Quinones to third. But Luke Mar popped out to shortstop Philippe Astier to end the game.
Daly City leadoff hitter Calvin Louie produced his team’s only other run with an RBI single in the third inning to score Stefan Suarez, who had reached on a booming one-out double.
Sweeters worked five innings to take the loss. The right-hander allowed four runs, two in the second and two more in the third. Daniel Mathison and Mark Zhu paced the Cardinals with two hits apiece.
This season marks a significant turnover for the Daly City coaching staff as longtime manager Paul Cunnie stepped down after the 2018 season. Cunnie coached the Daly City Joe D team for over 30 years and was recognized as Joe D’s top administrator in 2017 the Keith Connelly Award.
Cunnie is still a key figure in the Daly City Joe D ranks, taking over general manager duties for the team this season.
“We’re losing the experience,” Quintana said, “but, also, it allows him to do some things around here that he couldn’t do.”