WATSONVILLE — After winning a share of the Santa Cruz Coastal League for the first time in the school’s history, the St. Francis Central Coast Catholic Sharks are planning on making a deep run into the Central Coast Section Playoffs.
The Sharks only lost two games in the SCCAL all season and earned the right to host a home playoff game in the CCS Division III Tournament. Although the Sharks are the number three ranked team in the bracket, they still feel no pressure.
“I believe we can do it,” said junior Jonathan Carmona. “I have no doubt.”
Strong words, but make no mistake this team can play baseball. Not only do they have one of the best pitchers in CCS, in Fresno State bound Dillon Houser, but they also have some of the best bats.
One of those bats is fellow junior R.J. Zuniga. He had a .345 batting average through the season. Throw in other big hitters like David “Digger” Gugale, who had five home runs, and Calvin Anderson Nakagawa, who had 25 RBIs, and you have a powerhouse. But this powerhouse isn’t a bunch of individuals, it’s a team.
“We just started to understand each other,” said Zuniga. “Last year we just stood out as individuals, but this time we’re actually playing as a team. Sure certain players hit the ball farther, but as a whole we’re batting together. We’re batting to support each other.”
That support has brought this group of guys together, and has made them into one of the most fun teams to watch.
“Being on this team makes me feel unique,” said Zuniga, while one of his teammates danced around in an attempt to make him laugh. “There’s no other team like this in baseball. The way these guys act, with all the humor and of course the play. It’s special. It makes me feel really special.”
Carmona feels the same way.
“It’s amazing if you sit back and think about it,” said Carmona. “We went from last place, during my freshman year, to first place this year. It’s a totally different game. I’m proud.”
The Sharks won the first part of the SCCAL title with a 1-0 win over the Soquel Knights to end the regular season, but during the end of year tournament at Harvey West Park, they lost to the Aptos Mariners in the semifinals.
Despite the loss the Sharks don’t believe that it will have any effect on them going forward.
“I think we still have our mojo going,” said Carmona. “That game didn’t set us back. I believe we’re going to do good and go far.”
They’ll take on the Stevenson Pirates from Pebble Beach on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
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