“… The first one now / will later be last / for the times they are a-changin’.”
— Bob Dylan
That shifting, scraping, rumbling sound in the distance — could that be caused by tables turning in Coast Valley League baseball? Those familiar with Bronco baseball, with their ears and eyes on high alert, believe they do hear (and see) the tables turning — and a quick look at last year’s dynamics sets the table for a strong pro-table-turning argument in 2013.
In 2012 the Broncos ended up in third place with a 7-3 league record, beaten twice by North County Christian (11-1 and 12-9). North County Christian won the league championship with a 9-1 record.
Tables turning No. 1: This year North County Christian doesn’t even have a team — there were not enough boys in their school to complete a baseball squad. They are not even in the league in 2013, let alone on top of the league.
Tables turning No. 2: In 2012, Valley Christian Academy ended up in second place in the Coast Valley League with an 8-2 record. Valley Christian and the Broncos split two games (Coast Union taking the first game 3-2 and getting plowed under 21-3 in the second). In the only game the two teams have played in 2013 the Broncos dominated Valley Christian, 9-1.
Tables turning No. 3: Looking at the Coast Valley League standings coming into this week, Valley Christian Academy (1-1) is the only team besides the Broncos to win a game. Four (Coastal Christian, Cuyama Valley, Maricopa and Shandon) are winless while Coast Union sits on top of the heap at 3-0.
Who are the players on the Coast Union varsity baseball team who are making the significant contributions? Coming into this week, junior Quentin Raethke leads the Broncos with a sparkling .476 batting average. Raethke, who pitches and plays infield, has 10 hits (including four doubles) in 21 official plate appearances; he has knocked in seven runs and scored six.
Raethke’s pitching prowess matches his dependability at the plate. In 21-plus innings, he has a 2.95 earned run average, a 1-1 won-loss record and has notched two saves.
Freshman Lane Sutherland (catcher) is hitting an impressive .455 with five hits and four RBIs in 11 plate appearances. Junior Emmany Godinez, who is the shortstop but on occasion is called in to pitch, is hitting .385 with 10 hits in 26 official plate appearances; Godinez has scored 12 runs (best on the team) and leads the Broncos in stolen bases with nine.
Gehrig Kniffen, a sophomore, is hitting at a .333 clip with seven hits and nine RBIs in 21 at bats. On the mound, Kniffen has a 4.94 ERA in 5.2 innings, but he has two victories under his belt.
Meanwhile, hurler Grant Magnuson has an impressive 2.33 ERA in 18 innings. At the plate, Magnuson, a junior, has five hits, three RBIs, is batting .250 and has stolen three bases. Dylan Vialpando has just five official at-bats but he has scored three runs on two hits and is hitting .400.
The next Coast Union home baseball game is Friday, April 12, against Cuyama Valley High School. Prior to that home game, the Broncos will travel for games at Orcutt Academy on April 5 and at Shandon on April 9.
Advice for the Broncos (from Dylan) as they face the future: “The line it is drawn / the curse it is cast / the slow one now / will later be fast / as the present now / will later be past / for the times they are a-changin.”