Baseball looks to take back dominance

    Junior infielder Justin Hull swings at a pitch. Hull, a three-sport varsity athlete for football, basketball and baseball, went one for three and scored one run. Photo by George Lu.

    Junior pitcher Justin Hull swings at a pitch during a plate appearance against Mountain View High School (3-16-1, 0-8) on March 11, the team’s first league game. The Vikings won, 9-2, as Hull, a three-sport varsity athlete for football, basketball and baseball, went one for three and scored one run. Photo by George Lu.

    After a brief lapse following a strong start, the Palo Alto High School baseball team (11-7, 4) hopes to revitalize its season as it takes on its next game 4 p.m. Friday at home against Los Gatos High School (18-1, 8-1), the leading team of the De Anza League.

    Senior pitcher Isaac Kasevich explained that the Vikings’ successes and losses come in streaks.

    “We started off really hot, sweeping our first three league series before splitting against Wilcox,” Kasevich said. “Then we hit a cold patch, where we lost two games to Saratoga. I think we’re getting back to where we were during that first hot streak.”

    Sophomore infielder Ethan Stern attributes the Saratoga losses to a lack of focus during the later innings of games.

    “A tendency with our team right now is we’ll have one really good inning early in the game, and then we sort of just relax,” Stern said. “If we could keep the intensity up the whole game, that would be better.”

    Some returning players have proven themselves to be valuable this year as expected, according to Kasevich.

    “[Senior outfielder] Phil [Lewis] has been an awesome leadoff hitter and is probably the best center fielder in CCS [Central Coast Section],” Kasevich said. “[Junior infielder] Owen [Plambeck] is leading our team in almost all statistical categories offensively.”

    In addition, both Stern and Kasevich praised junior pitcher Justin Hull for stepping up and acquiring a starting position even though he didn’t begin the season as one of the main pitchers.

    “Hull has been Mr. Everything — he’s pitching fantastically, he’s a solid hitter in the middle of the order and he plays great defense when he isn’t on the mound,” Kasevich said. “I’d say he’s been our team MVP based on the breadth of his contributions.”

    Despite the momentum swing of the Vikings’ successes and losses, Kasevich said that going into the game against Los Gatos [at] 4 p.m. today at the Los Gatos baseball field, the mindset stays the same.

    “It doesn’t matter if we are playing Gatos, Bellarmine, or the San Francisco Giants,” Kasevich said. “We have the same mindset going into every single game, and we expect to win.”

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