In the week prior to April 18 the Foresthill High School Varsity Baseball team found themselves playing five games in eight days and it was either feast or famine for the Wildfires. In recording their three victories, Foresthill won by scoring double digits in each of their games. Only to be shut out in the two losses.
On Monday, April 11th, the Wildfires were on the road, playing Victory Christian HS at McAullife Field in Sacramento, a league opponent, and won 13-0 led by Joey Misuraca. Misuraca threw a complete game shutout, allowing only two hits in the first inning, striking out 12 and went 1 X 3 with a triple, two walks, scored three and knocked in 4 RBI. Benji Nieves, Casey Baldwin and Marcus Chavez each drove in 2 runs and Cody MacKay, Justin Leyba and Wyatt Ralston scored two runs each. Head Coach David Brown was impressed with the overall play of the ball club. Brown said "We have a mixture of veteran ballplayers like Misuraca, Ralston and MacKay combined with a very young nucleus of underclassmen that we are hoping to develop into a strong ball club for years to come."
Back in Sacramento on Wednesday, April 16th, the Wildfires played a non-conference game at Foothill HS, a Division 4 squad and were shut out 6-0. Misuraca had 2 hits on the day, including a double and Casey Baldwin recorded two innings of solid relief, six up - six down with a strike out. All four walks given up by starter Justin Leyba came around to score before he was forced to leave early with some tightness in his arm. Coach Brown said that Leyba has been a new coach's dream - a freshman ballplayer who can literally play all nine positions and has been pressed into duty mostly as a shortstop, back up catcher, and a starting pitcher. "Justin has shown that all facets of his game are well suited for what should be an outstanding four seasons of Varsity Baseball - all he lacks is experience. It will come with playing time” says Brown. “I can live with some of the rookie mistakes he may have to deal with because the positives are just too compelling. I'm convinced that, with time, experience, and maturity, he could very well have what it takes to play at the next level - he's that good. Unfortunately, he came up a bit sore today and it cost him."
Back home on Friday, the Vikings from Victory Christian came to the hilltop to play the Wildfires for the second half of the home and home league games and were handed another punishing loss, losing 12-5. Cody MacKay was the story, pitching 6 1/3 innings giving up 5 runs - one earned - striking out 9 and going 3 X 4 with a single, double, triple - scored three runs and drove in 2. Misuraca continued his torrid week, going 2 X 3 with double, scored one and drove in another. Steven Radford drove in two with a bases loaded single. Brown said that he realized one of the downsides of trying to get all twelve of his ballplayers at least one at bat during the game almost came back to haunt him when one of the starters was ejected and the Wildfires were forced to finish the game with eight ballplayers. "We had to scramble to cover the ejection so we finished with just two outfielders. Thank goodness it didn't cost us."
The next day found Foresthill hosting another Division 4 team from Sacramento - the Highland Scots - in a wild game that ended up in the win column for the Wildfires, besting the Scots by a final of 17-11. Brown said "By rule, when a player is ejected, he is required to sit the next one out. We were already down a key ballplayer that was forced to miss Saturday's game to attend a funeral. We opted to try something different so we used our starting centerfielder behind the plate and our starting catcher played first base for the first time ever. Thank goodness for Wyatt Ralston." The winning pitcher on Saturday, Ralston, normally the starting first baseman, has been pressed into service as starting pitcher this year and so far, has gone 3-0 for the season. On Saturday, he gave up 4 runs - one earned - and struck out 7 in four innings. Helping himself out at the plate, Ralston went 2 X 3 with a double and two walks, scored 3 times and drove in another. Misuraca again came up big with a solid 2 X 4 day plus a walk, scored 3, drove in 3. Justin Leyba continued to shine, going 3X4 including a triple, scored 4 runs and drove in 3. Benji Nieves had another fine day with two RBI and Jacob Islas scored 3 times.
Finally, on Monday, April 18th, the Wildfires ran into one of their most formidable league opponents, the Cardinals from Woodland Christian. Despite losing the game 4-0, Head Coach David Brown felt the boys from Foresthill played one of their finest games of the season. "We played six innings of first rate baseball. Unfortunately, we play seven and we had an inning where we gave up three unearned runs in a four run fifth. Cody MacKay pitched superbly and deserved a better fate, but I cannot tell you how proud I was of our ball club today. We played well" said Brown. The Wildfires will host the Cardinals this Thursday at 4:00. "I'm certain we got their attention” said Brown “and I'm hoping for a better result at home to end the week."