Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area
Every season of the high school sports calendar has its standout teams and individuals, but every once in a while here at Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area I'll take a liking to a team and it becomes "my team."
It happens to every sports reporter, not that I'm actively cheering for a team or rooting for someone specific, but with certain squads I'll just have a better time at the game.
Sometimes it'll happen by being scheduled to one team over and over or sometimes it happens because a specific team will always have a good or exciting game when you're there. But it happens.
This baseball season I've had the privilege of covering some top teams in the Bay... Granada, Serra, St. Francis, all have been recognized nationally for their accomplishments this year.
But the team which captured my attention and many other hearts around the Bay this season had to be the Lowell Cardinals of San Francisco. Lowell made a run for the ages this season and won the SF City League title, and then trounced Oakland Tech in the Trans Bay title game to earn some major bragging rights over Oakland this year.
What's great about the Lowell squad is not only are they extremely talented, but they play ball the right way. They take pride in being sound on defense while they're not afraid to sacrifice themselves at the plate to move a runner over. It all starts with the coaching staff, with the ship being steered by John Donohue. Coach Donohue doesn't get to excited or to down, he's just out there coaching ball and getting the job done. His assistants run all over the field; they seem like an organized bunch and relate to the student-athletes very well.
The players on the field though are what sets the Cardinals above the rest. There's a ton to love here, including team captain Andy Glickfeld. Andy hits cleanup for Lowell and is a pure hitter. He's hitting .400 on the year and seems to come up clutch every time it's needed. Aaron Leong hits .440 and is a speedster while Josh Vaughn, Nick Rolph and Stephen Reid all hit in the high .300's. They're a group to be feared for sure.
The pitching is what sets the Cardinals apart though, as their top four pitchers in innings pitched all have ERAs under 2.00! Jasper Scherer is throwing at an 1.37 clip. Noah Gould has an 1.05 ERA. Aaron Leong comes in at 1.88 while the group is led by Elijah Saunders at 0.68! Yes, you just read that correctly, a 0.68 ERA for Elijah Saunders.
Elijah is the dominant player on this team as he's leading the Cardinals in innings pitched while compiling an 8-1 record. He's also closed out some games this year. Saunders was on the hill for both the City League and Trans Bay Title Games and threw 10 shutout innings combined in the two Championships. Elijah also leads the team in RBI, doubles, homers, plate appearances, slugging percentage and on base percentage. He's a special player, one which the game seems to come easily.
Lowell has been fun to watch this year. It makes me wonder, who's going to be next year's Lowell Cardinals? I can't wait to find out.