After a one-year hiatus, the La Cañada High School varsity baseball team returned to action last week and picked up two victories over Sun Valley Village Christian.
First-year head coach Car Gschwender and longtime assistant coach Murph Proctor had the Spartans playing at a high level in the preseason and that success carried over into their season opener at Village Christian. Chris Nava collected a team-high three hits and drove in three runs to help La Cañada come away with a 14-4 victory last Tuesday.
Adam Geller and Ryan Kiessling also contributed to the offensive assault with two hits, two runs and two RBI apiece. Jakob Torres was 2-for-5 with a double, two runs and one RBI, and Ethan Geller and Evan Umland each hit a single, scored and drove in a run. Timmy Park scored twice, Riley Kozakar singled and Brandon Cho, Keagan Serdar and Luke Woods each scored.
On the mound, Nathan Mertens allowed one run on three hits and three walks and struck out a team-high eight batters in four innings of work. Umland pitched two scoreless innings and struck out two, and Adam Geller pitched one inning and recorded a strikeout.
The Spartans (2-0 overall record) were just as dominant in their home opener against the Crusaders last Saturday. Umland and Chase Kerstein were solid on the mound and allowed only one hit in an 18-1 victory.
Umland struck out nine and allowed only one hit in five innings to earn the win. Kerstein tossed two innings of relief, allowed one unearned run and struck out three.
The LCHS starting pitcher also performed in the batter’s box. Umland finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs and one run scored. Timmy Park drove in a team-high four runs with three hits, including two doubles, and crossed the plate three times. Sophomore Alex Higa also scored three runs and had two RBIs on three hits. Torres scored three runs, Kiessling had two runs, and Adam Geller, Jack Erskine, Ethan Geller, Cole Hammes, Cho and Woods each contributed a run.
The Spartans begin their defense of the Rio Hondo League crown at home this Friday against San Marino. The seniors on the team — which include Mertens, Umland, Kerstein, Nava, Hammes, Torres, Erskine, Kozakar, Woods, Serdar and Thomas Decker — will be honored for their dedication to the program following the game.