Senior shortstop Austin Braff hits a ball in the third inning of Wednesday’s game against the Evergreen Valley cougars. The Vikings went on to win, 5-1.
– Edward Mei
The Palo Alto High School baseball team (1-0-0) opened up its season at home yesterday with a 5-1 victory over the Evergreen Valley Cougars (0-0-1).
Led by senior outfielder John Dickerson’s two RBIs in the bottom of the first inning, the Vikings jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back.
The victory did not come easy, however, as the Viking offense did not look sharp and the Cougars kept within striking distance by limiting the Viking batters with solid pitching.
“I’m not very pleased,” coach Erick Raich said after the game. “They [The Cougars] did a good job of competing, and they proved that if you can throw strikes you can compete with the best of them.”
One bright point in offense was senior outfielder B.J. Boyd, who connected for a double and a triple on two out of five at bats, stole two bases and scored three runs for the Vikings.
“I tried to stay focused, mostly, and then I did pretty good,” Boyd said. “I kept my composure in the batters’ box, and waited for the ball to come to me instead of trying to be anxious for it.”
Another highlight for the Vikings throughout the game was the pitching job, which consisted of a six-man pitching rotation. Senior pitcher Ben Schneider led the way by dominating the batters in the first two innings, and was shortly relieved by sophomore left-handed pitcher Danny Erlich.
After Erlich, senior Arun Varma, junior Rohit Ramkumar, senior Kevin Kannappan and junior Nick Wells all contributed in holding the Cougars’ offensive production to a single run.
“The pitchers were great,” Raich said. “It was the first time all year the pitchers have stepped up and carried us. If they can do that throughout the year, good things are gonna happen.”
Moving forward, the Vikings hope to continue improving in an effort to match last year’s CCS title.
“We should do well,” Boyd said about team’s goals for this season. “Everyday, if we keep working hard and coming together as team, then hopefully we can bring home another championship.”
The Vikings next game is at 2 p.m. this Saturday against Campolindo High School, at Paly.