By Jeremy Balan
Capitalizing on 16 hits and nine stolen bases, Washington High School edged Harker Upper School of San Jose 9-8 in a non-league game on Monday at Balboa Park.
“It was nice to see, we haven’t had that many hits in a while. Our guys were aggressive and they had good approaches today,” said Washington Head Coach Rob Fung. “We have to run and we like to run. We’re going to be aggressive and put pressure on other teams.”
Harker Head Coach C.J. Cali knew Washington would be running, but could not stop the threat consistently.
“We knew coming in that they’ve stolen a lot of bases and that put a lot of pressure on our defense,” Cali said. “I gotta tell you, they got [nine] steals, but we threw them out three times.”
After jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the first inning on six consecutive hits including back-to-back-to-back doubles from Dane Vande Guchte, Alex Kozakiewicz and Walter James, Washington let Harker back into the game with a three-run fourth to give Harker a 5-4 lead.
Washington took the lead back in the bottom half of the fourth behind an RBI single from Kozakiewicz to put the score at 6-5, but Harker responded with two runs in the top of the fifth to take over the lead again at 7-6.
Washington then took back the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth with a two-RBI single from third baseman Jumaane Bowdry.
While the first two Washington pitchers struggled, allowing seven runs on 11 hits, Vande Guchte came in for a two inning save, only allowing a run on a fielder’s choice in the seventh.
“He’s only a sophomore and he comes in and throws strikes for us,” Fung said of Vande Guchte. “He’s one of those guys you can always depend on to get the ball around the plate.”
Harker’s 14 hits in the game amounted to one of their most successful performances.
“Today we hit the ball better than we have in two or three weeks,” said Cali. “They got off to that 4-1 start and our kids battled back and took the lead, but give credit to them, they battled back and took it back.”