As the high school baseball season winds down, the Bonita Vista Barons find themselves in a familiar position: trailing the talent-laden Eastlake Titans and Otay Ranch Mustangs. While there is no doubt that the Titans and Mustangs have earned their top 10 county rankings, the third place Barons had clawed their way to an impressive 15-9 record heading into Thursday’s game. Strong pitching and solid defense are two of the reasons.
The Barons’ most dominant pitcher was Danny Siwek until they lost him recently to ineligibility. In his absence right-handed seniors Brandon Torio and Eduardo Perez have stepped up, as has junior southpaw Ricky Reynoso.
The addition of junior Chris O’Neill has solidified the catching position. O’Neill started the season on the junior varsity team to gain experience. He has the ideal size and arm strength to be a good one.
Senior Scott Beckstrom has found a home at first base after trying several other positions. Beckstrom’s bat has provided some key hits this season. The middle infield consists of Danny Schneeman at second and team captain Esteban Velasco at shortstop.
“Esteban is our best player overall,” explained veteran coach Vincent Gervais. “He does a little of everything. He’s very smart, has a knack for stealing bases and ranks among the county leaders in that category. Esteban is headed to Bethel University in Minnesota in September.”
When he is not pitching, Brandon Torio plays third base. Torio is a very good fielder and the team’s second best hitter (behind Velasco). He provides much of the power to the Barons’ offense.
In left field the Barons feature sophomore Andres Velasco, who, like O’Neill, moved up during the season from the JV team. Velasco’s main selling point was his much needed bat, but he is also very solid defensively.
Junior twins Blake and Parker Flippen have seen substantial playing time in the outfield. Following in the footsteps of older siblings Paul and Hannah, they are making a name for themselves. Gervais calls them “hardworking team leaders who have a knack for getting on base with walks and by bunting.”
Parker Flippen plays third base whenever Torio pitches.
Perez often plays right field when he is not on the mound. “He’s a five-tool kid who hasn’t completely realized it yet,” Gervais said.
“We have a chance to win league, but first we need to find ways to get on base and create a little havoc. Eastlake and Otay Ranch have big hitters. We are not big hitters, so we have to be scrappy and do all the little things right.”
By the numbers
Hitting average: Esteban Velasco .364, Brandon Torio .338, Scott Beckstrom .292, Eduardo Perez .277, Daniel Schneemann .258. RBI: Brandon Torio 17, Daniel Schneemann 10. Runs scored: Esteban Velasco 20, Brandon Torio 14, Eduardo Perez 14, Daniel Schneemann 10
Pitching ERA: Eduardo Perez 0.46, Brandon Torio 1.77. Strikeouts: Brandon Torio 37 (31 IP), Eduardo Perez 29 (30 IP), Records: Brandon Torio 5-3, Eduardo Perez 1-0, Kevin McCann 2-1