An amazing BHS baseball season came to a hugely successful conclusion tonight at the San Jose Municipal stadium as the Panthers knocked off a Palo Alto high school team that was on a 23-game winning streak. The Central Coast Sectional championships include teams from S.F. to Monterey in 3 divisions based on the size of the schools. 16 teams make the Sectionals in each division and only one wins four games in a row to take it all--this year it is the Panthers.
I've been watching Panther baseball closely for the last four years and it is clear to me that the secret sauce this year has been the defense. Tonight's win featured great pitching by D.J. Sharabi, who got the win, and Zach Grotz who got the save. It also featured a 5-run B'game explosion in the top of the 1st inning which has been rare for this team. But the three double plays and error-free play for the whole game was the key. The 5-run gut punch in the 1st was bookended by a somersaulting 9-3 double play by co-captain Forrest Armanino to end the game like a lightning strike. The Panthers did not make a single fielding error in all four games!
Four error-free games leading to a championship is a coach's dream and may have been the deciding factor in head coach Rich Sciutto announcing his retirement on the bus ride back to B'game. Scuitto and assistant coaches Ray Mellado and Joe McKane will step down from the top step in 2010 and let a younger generation of coaches guide the Panthers from here. Ladies and gents here are your 2010 Division 2 CCS champion Burlingame Panthers at today's introduction with Coach Sciutto (#32)