By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN
Justin Garza knows when he takes the hill he’s going to get his opponents best.
He knows the scouts are there and curious onlookers want to get a look at that mid-90s fastball.
But nothing fazes him, not even visiting Diamond Bar, which entered Thursday’s game as the top-ranked team in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 poll with Bonita at No. 2 and sole possession of first in the Hacienda League on the line.
Garza delivered again, tossing a four-hit shutout in Bonita’s 5-0 win over the Brahmas. It was his second shutout and sixth complete game to improve to 6-1.
Pressure? What pressure.
“You take everything day-by-day, pitch-by-pitch,” said the Cal State Fullerton commit. “Pitching is a lot like hitting. You can’t try to do to much, you stay relaxed and trust yourself and your mechanics.”
Bonita coach John Knott has run out of things to say about Garza, who has won 22 of 23 starts dating back to 2010.
So Knott just repeats himself.
“There is a tendency as a coach to take it for granted and I don’t want to do that,” Knott said. “I want to give him his due, not that he would ask for it.
“For an 18-year-old to be as composed as he is with all the scouts, everyone counting on him and all the attention he gets is a reflection on him and how well he carries himself.
“He’s the same humble kid that he’s been from day one. He’s got the same work ethic, he’s still coachable and I want to continue to recognize it because guys like that don’t come around often.” (To continue click thread)
Bonita and Garza didn’t have to face Diamond Bar’s Henry Omana, a big reason why the Brahmas (12-3-2, 4-1) are the top-ranked team in the division.
Omana, who is 4-0 with a 0.56 ERA, was not available after breaking his left foot two weeks ago.
Omana might return soon, he was with coach Eric Shibley throwing a bullpen session after the loss. But the start belonged to junior Conner Meade, who pitched well for the most part, but he gave up a one-out double to Tyler Heslop that drove in Garza and Thomas Castro to fall behind 2-0 in the first inning.
Meade only allowed three hits through four innings, but the Bearcats got to him in the fifth.
Justin Row led off with a single and Meade hit Garza. Castro followed with a single to bring in Row and after Heslop’s RBI single scored Garza, the Bearcats led 4-0 and that was it for Meade, who gave way to Zach Quiroz to finish.
Bonita tacked on another run and Garza finished the job as the Bearcats improved to 17-1 and 5-0 to take over first in the Hacienda.
“We found a way to win,” Knott said. “I think that’s what good teams do. We’re still not swinging the bat as well as we can, but we’re pitching and making the plays defensively and that’s usually a remedy for staying in the game.”