Maybe it had something to do with Carlmont football coach Eric Rado being in the crowd, but the baseball Scots scored a football score on Friday at Menlo School.
The swinging Scots – who came on batting .302 as a team – toppled Menlo for a 21-7 win in their final non-league tune-up before the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division opener next Wednesday.
Just as Rado preaches about founding Carlmont’s football program, Scottish manager Ryan Hamilton said the key to the power of the baseball team was hitting the weight room. And senior cleanup hitter Jack Vanoncini flexed his muscles early, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning to set the pace for Carlmont (6-2-1).
“We’re lifting hard in the offseason,” Hamilton said. “We lift during the season. It helped [Vanoncini] to fill. It also lifts itself. Really, his biggest issue so far this year is just having a consistent approach and being able to time the fastballs consistently. Once he figured that out, you saw it today, he was able to make the adjustment today and was able to throw some balls.
Vanoncini got a fastball inside Menlo starting pitcher Colin Dhaliwal and exploded on it for a strongman home run to left field right away.
“I like to use all parts of the pitch,” Vanoncini said. “I saw a good fastball to hit, I lit it and let it fly.”
It was the first of two homers of the day for the Scots, with junior Jack Wiessinger adding a two-run bomb on the sixth. The Scots scored in five different innings, all twisted numbers, and had 16 hits on the day.
“I think we were all relaxed,” Vanoncini said. “We came out pretty confident today after some big [wins] on Serra and Live Oak. So we knew we could definitely put this game away quickly, and we did.
The Knights (4-3-1) made it a game early on. As the Scots took a 5-0 lead early in the second – Dominic Avila scored a home run, Tanner Van Why drilled an RBI brace and Vanoncini drew a goal-laden walk – Menlo rallied with a point in the bottom of the second and three more in the third to make it a 5-4 game.
Wiessinger, Carlmont’s starting pitcher, held the line to work five innings for the win. But he had to navigate the heart of Menlo’s order, a powerful trio of Carson Cleage, Jake Sonsini and Eric Young, who went a combined 6-for-8 the order’s first three times.
Sonsini was 3 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI. That’s not a bad performance considering the sophomore was hitting the cleanup zone for the first time this season. Menlo was missing two of his best sticks in senior Chase Hurwitz and junior Jake Bianchi.
“With these two in the lineup, with the team we have here, we’re going to be decent,” Menlo co-manager Tink Reynoso said, with his team set to open PAL Ocean Division play this next Tuesday at rival Sacred Heart. Preparation.
“So when we get into our league, that should help us a bit compared to what we’re doing right now,” Reynoso said.
Carlmont owned the final three frames, however, scoring Menlo’s bullpen for six runs in fifth, two in sixth and eight more in seventh. The Scots struck about twice, sending 11 batters home in the fifth and – despite cycling in five different benchers – 14 more in the seventh.
“We got everyone in; almost everyone had a hit today,” Hamilton said. “It’s a pretty easy job as a coach when you can put almost anyone in any position and they can do the job. “
Carlmont senior Carson Vance had the most impressive swing from the bench, nearly adding a third Scottish home run on the day with a booming shot from the left field wall for a two-run brace.
Vanoncini left after going 2-for-3 with four RBIs, with senior Jack Andrews taking his place behind home plate. Andrews reached base in his two plate appearances, getting hit with a pitch and a single.
“As far as the approach to shots, yes, we preach an aggressive approach,” Hamilton said. “We preach about being aggressive on the fastballs, turning on the fastballs, chasing the fastballs. And that’s really what got us here.
“Same mentality but a little different chemistry around the team,” said Vanoncini, who is committed to playing at Cal State Fullerton next season. “Once Hamilton got into (my) junior year, we all went that way – a bit more laid back environment. It was great to have a team where we can all be ourselves and really thrive as a team. I think that’s a big part of our success, it’s just that we’re able to be ourselves on the pitch.
The Scots open PAL Bay Division play this coming Wednesday, hosting Hamilton’s alma mater Aragon at 4 p.m.