The Paly Voice

Baseball aims for CCS title

Grant Raffel, Author

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With a new field, the Paly baseball team is looking to return to the CCS finals and capture the championship. – Rachel HarrusFollowing a 29-4 season that included a loss in the section championship game, the Palo Alto High School baseball team (1-3) enters league play on Wednesday with hopes to capture the title this year.

Last year, the Vikings fell to Burlingame, 4-7, in the Central Coast Section Division II title game.

“[It] leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, getting all the way there [to the final] and not succeeding,” Assistant Coach Dave Goldman said. “So, that [winning CCS] is the goal.”

With construction on the new field completed just in time for the baseball season, the Vikings are looking to make the most of their new facilities.

“The team and the coaches absolutely love this field,” Goldman said. “It can only help us. We’re fortunate to have this, and it’s exciting.”

The Vikings started the 2011 season with a difficult 3-2 loss at St. Francis, blowing a 2-1 lead in the final inning. However, the team recovered with a come from behind win against Serra, 7-6. After losing to Archbishop Mitty High School on Monday, 7-3, and to Monterey on Wednesday, 4-3, the Vikings are looking to rebound.

“I’m just very optimistic about the season,” junior pitcher Ben Sneider said. “We had a bad game against Mitty, but that happens and some of the conditions weren’t ideal. Just like last year, we have started out slowly offensively. We have a really strong pitching staff this year and once we get our bats going we’ll be a really tough team to beat.”

Paly will need to find a way to replace the offensive and defensive contributions of star center field Joc Pederson, who graduated in 2010. Pederson signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently playing with their minor league affiliate.

“It’s virtually impossible to replace Joc Pederson,” Goldman said. “But, having said that, we have a strong group of players. We have B.J. Boyd this year who we didn’t have last year. We’ve got [seniors] Christoph Bono, T.J. Braff, and Will Glazier, who were all part of the team last year. Now as seniors, they are taking over the leadership positions.”

With other returning players such as senior Drake Swezey and juniors Christian Lonsky and Alec Wong, the Vikings are unified in aiming for a CCS championship after losing in the finals last year.

“Our goal is definitely to win CCS,” senior catcher and team captain Will Glazier said. “Division I would be nice, but we would probably have to opt up for that to happen. But I think we’re capable of beating any team in CCS.”

With many repeating the sentiment that CCS is the goal, it is apparent that the winning culture from last year still remains strong.

“We want to continue on the tradition that last year’s seniors left, which is a lot of hard work and playing extremely hard every play,” Glazier said. “Play every play like it’s your last. It’s just a winning mentality basically.”

Glazier takes his duties as captain seriously, leading by example and helping his team focus.

“I can make sure people are playing their hardest,” Glazier said. “Leading by example is the only way you can go about it.”

The Viking’s next game is at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 5, at home against Santa Clara High School.

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