The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

De Anza College’s baseball team is off to a rocky start

The Mountain Lions stayed competitive through the sixth inning but a late game surge by the Reedley Tigers sent them to 0-1.
Eric Kindred
Joseph Lomeli awaits the next pitch after getting De Anza’s first hit vs Reedley on Jan. 26.

De Anza College baseball has not won a season opener since 2019 and that trend continued Friday as the Mountain Lions fell 11-1 against the Reedley College Tigers.

The game began as a pitchers’ duel with Mountain Lions right-handed sophomore pitcher Ethan Rowland only allowing five hits, one run, and striking out four batters through five innings to keep pace with Tigers pro prospect and UCLA commit Will Gagnon. But Gagnon shut down De Anza’s few glimpses of momentum and the Reedley bats took over late after Rowland exited the game.

Despite the loss, starting pitcher Rowland came away from the game with a positive outlook ahead of Saturday’s rematch with Reedley.

“I was ecstatic about only allowing five hits through five innings,” Rowland said. “We are looking forward to responding against Reedley tomorrow.”

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In the second inning, a throwing error by Rowland on a pickoff attempt to first base helped Tigers outfielder Mikey Ramirez move into scoring position. After Rowland responded with a strikeout, Tigers third baseman Jonathan Callison drove Ramirez home with a hit to left field that put Reedley ahead 1-0.

After the Reedley scoring play, De Anza second baseman Mitchell Finck came off the field with an injured shoulder. Freshman Yuchan Park entered the game to replace Finck.

First baseman Joseph Lomeli was the first to get on base for De Anza with a lead-off single in the bottom of the second inning. Two batters later, freshman left fielder Kurt Beckmann drew a walk from Gagnon which moved Lomeli into scoring position.

For a moment, during the next at-bat, it looked like De Anza would tie the game when freshman catcher Gabriel Salazar-Mata made solid contact on a ball that lined into right field, but the ball was caught by Reedley outfielder Trevin Paulson.

The brief scoring opportunity provided hope as one Mountain Lion could be heard loudly from the dugout hyping the team up by yelling, “We can win this game!” Hope would continue in the top of the third inning as a threat from a lead-off walk would be shut down with a double play started by Mountain Lions third baseman Daniel Major.
Gagnon then took control of the game striking out six of the next seven De Anza batters. Until Gagnon gave way to his bullpen in the eighth inning, no other Mountain Lion would reach scoring position.

Mountain Lions’ center fielder Minjae Kim would offer a couple moments of optimism however, with singles hit against Gagnon in the fourth and seventh innings. Coming off a season in 2023 which saw him hit .298 and lead the team with seven home runs, Kim has high hopes for 2024.

“My goal is to hit more home runs this season,” Kim said. “I also want to improve my average and hit over .300”

Reedley would prove too strong for De Anza late in the game, putting together 11 hits and 10 runs in the game’s final four innings after Rowland turned the ball over to his bullpen. A six-run ninth inning for Reedley would seal the fate for De Anza’s fourth straight season opening loss.

Even with the tough loss, Mountain Lions head baseball coach Don Watkins came away from the game proud of his team’s effort and hopeful for a bounce back game in the rematch with Reedley on Saturday, Jan. 27.

“We competed for six (innings) … I was impressed that we battled, we got a couple hits off of (Gagnon),” Coach Watkins said. “We’re going to be competitive tomorrow again. We got a four-hour bus ride there to Reedley and then we’ll get after it … it’s going to be fun.”

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About the Contributor
Eric Kindred
Eric Kindred, Staff Reporter
I’ve been writing articles on my own time and for my own amusement, specifically about sports, since I was in middle school. After years of working with electronics and computers I have decided to turn my hobby/passion of writing into a career. I hope to gain as much training and experience in journalism as possible this quarter so that I can form a solid foundation for a future career in journalism.

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