HomeSportsStacked pitching staff provides high hopes for CCS victory for league-leading baseball

Stacked pitching staff provides high hopes for CCS victory for league-leading baseball

Published May 9, 2024

BY SARA EYJOLFSDOTTIR

Carmel High School’s star-studded baseball team hopes to bring home a second consecutive CCS trophy after an immensely successful season, with a record through May 5 of 16-2 in the Gabilan Division of the Pacific Coast Athletic League. Boasting an impressive 19-4 overall record, the team has flourished in part through its six-man pitching staff that has been dominating on the mound, led by Scott Brown, CHS’ pitching coach since 1997.

“Pitching requires probably the highest levels of skill of all the positions, and because everything is being played at such a high level right now, it really requires a year-long commitment,” Brown says. “Everyone on our pitching staff has really made a commitment to be great.”

The CHS baseball team is currently ranked first in PCAL’s Gabilan Division, with high hopes to take home the CCS trophy for the second consecutive year. (photo by LONDON SELBY-LARA)

Consisting of only three seniors‒JJ Sanchez, Zander Lunt and Domenic Borgomini‒this powerhouse of a pitching squad is looking to continue its success in the years to come. Allowing fewer than one base runner per inning, the team’s current earned run average is 2.19, with the national average standing at 5.07.

Sophomore Matt Maxon has been a standout on the team since the beginning of his high school career, with his pitching talent earning him a Division-I commitment to Stanford’s baseball program. Maxon’s fastball now stands at 91 mph, and this season alone he has struck out 64 batters in 47 innings of work.

“Our dynamic is to play team ball and get our jobs done in whatever aspect of the game that it is,” says Maxon, who expresses hopes to be drafted to the MLB. “Our coaches have done a great job installing confidence in us.”

Despite this success, the varsity athlete looks to continue improving his statistics through hard work and determination, a work ethic shared by many of his teammates. Rounding off the pitching squad are juniors Jackson Lloyd and Hudson Rutherford, both promising talents for the future of the team. 

Committed to play for Loyola Marymount’s Division-I baseball team, senior JJ Sanchez has been described by his coaches as having been born to pitch. (photo by LONDON SELBY-LARA)

With a personal ERA of only 1.68, left-handed pitcher Sanchez, who has committed to play for Loyola Marymount University’s D-I baseball team, has been a bedrock of the program throughout his four years on varsity. Without him, Brown says they would never have achieved the same level of success.

Having returned to the CHS team in 2020 after leaving in 2007 due to time constraints, head coach Mike Kelly had a winning record of 342-88 along with seven CCS titles, which has only grown since his return to the program. The baseball veteran focuses on maintaining a healthy, supportive team culture along with maximizing his team’s potential on the field.

“Our coaches really care about both the team’s success and us as individuals,” says senior Oscar Hanson, a standout on the team who hopes to continue his baseball career through coaching or sports statistics work after graduation. “We’re all friends, and we have a positive, winning culture.”

With an impressive 91 mph fastball in only his sophomore year at CHS, Matt Maxon is a promising pitcher who is likely to continue his success in the years to come. (photo by BROOKLYN CHAVEZ)

With a .333 batting average this season, senior Bobo Iandoli, who has committed to play baseball at New York’s Division-II Regis University, recognizes how the team’s coaches continue to push their players to become the best they can be, while also fostering a close team dynamic. Fellow senior Justin LeMaster leads the team with an impressive .455 batting average. 

Both Brown and Kelly always place a heavy emphasis on honesty, with the belief that self-reflecting and identifying areas of improvement is truly where their success stems from. Beyond simply their domination in the league, Brown says the players have been able to lay a blueprint this season for younger team members in terms of their focus and commitment to acquiring the skills that it takes to play at their level.

“My hope is that the talented young guys in our program look at these players and emulate them and follow in their footsteps,” Brown says, “not in terms of the great results they’ve had but in terms of the great process they’ve followed. Because a great process is what leads to those results.”

The CHS baseball team is set to play Monterey High School on May 6, Pacific Grove on May 8 and Soquel on May 11.     

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