Sunnyside is thriving at 7-0 behind a dynamic duo who have achieved feats that take most a whole season to accomplish, if that.
Isaiah Arellano has been part of two no-hitters and shortstop Manny Carino has belted two grand slams for the Blue Devils, who head into today’s matchup with visiting Mountain View a world apart from how last season ended.
The six-game losing streak to end last year’s 11-16 season (one in which Sunnyside went 0-9 at home) is one reason why Arellano and Carino have gone unnoticed by baseball fans and college recruiters to this point despite their torrid unbeaten start.
Sunnyside senior pitcher Isaiah Arellano talks about his experience so far in two no-hitters only seven games into the season. pic.twitter.com/1204K7vbj1
“We didn’t do so well last year,” said Sunnyside coach Gabriel Moraga, whose team won 10-2 at rival Desert View last night. “Noboody is going to come watch you if you’re not doing well. It’s a different season this year. Hopefully, we’ll make it a little further and somebody notices.”
Arellano served notice in the opening game against Catalina that things would be different for Sunnyside this year. He pitched six innings of hitless ball before Angel Cota came on in relief in the seventh inning to cap the no-hitter in the 4-2 win.
Catalina scored because of four walks by Arellano and six errors committed by Sunnyside.
In his next start against Sahuaro, Arellano and the defense behind him calmed down. He struck out nine and walked only one and Sunnyside did not commit an error in the no-hitter.
“My fastball is working pretty good; I just go out there and try to pin my spots the whole game,” said Arellano, a right-hander who in 16 1/3 innings is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA with 22 strikeouts and seven walks.
“It feels great (to have the two no-hitters). It’s crazy though. … At Catalina, the coaches did not even know (of the no-hitter) at first. I told them and they still put in a reliever. After the Sahuaro game, I didn’t think I was going to throw the no-hitter there but it was working pretty good. After the fourth inning, I felt pretty good like I had a shot.”
Count on this: Colleges will soon be recruiting Sunnyside senior shortstop Manny Carino, who is a solid 6-2 and 185. Already with 12 RBIs through first seven games, batting nearly .370. pic.twitter.com/m8jjKr3VrX
Carino’s grand slams occurred in a 12-11 win over Flowing Wells and 8-2 triumph over Catalina Foothills.
Moraga said of Carino, who is batting near .370 with 12 RBIs: “He hits it hard when he hits it.”
At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Carino looks the part of a slugger. Colleges have not called yet, but they likely will soon.
Sunnyside shortstop Manny Carino says he will "outduel" teammate Isaiah Arellano in grand slams vs. no-hitters. Carino has jacked two grand slams and Arellano has two no-hitters for the unbeaten Blue Devils (7-0). pic.twitter.com/S0a0XFR3x8
“Nothing yet, just hoping,” said Carino, who also has four doubles. “It’s always been a dream (to play in college). I’m striving for it. Just hoping that one day I get that call. I’m not going to mess up on my chance.”
Both Arellano and Carino are businesslike as seniors in their approach. Neither seems to be consumed by anything, very even keel. So far, they have handled their success well this season. As they gain more notoriety, Moraga is confident two of his top players can continue to succeed.
Arellano, for instance, is a “real quiet, mellow kid,” Moraga said.
“You can’t even tell if he’s having a good game or a bad one. He doesn’t show emotion. He didn’t get excited when he threw the no-hitters. Every other kid would have been excited.”
Arellano also has not been observed by college recruiters or contacted by them.
“Oh, he can throw in college, easy,” Moraga said. “If he continues, they’ll come looking for him.”
The pieces have fit well for Moraga overall this season.
The team batting average going into the Desert View game was .318 with six players hitting better than .350, including Carino.
Their fielding has improved somewhat since committing the six errors against Catalina in the opener with only eight in the following six games.
The team ERA is 2.98 without allowing a home run so far this season. Big right-hander Gerardo Grijalva, a 6-2, 215-pound sophomore, improved to 2-0 with an ERA under 1.00 after two unearned runs were scored against him in six innings last night.
Of the 7-0 start, Moraga said, “I knew with the kids coming back it would be a strong possibility and the kids have just been playing really well right now. Hopefully they can continue to do that. Pitching has kept us in our games and we have hit just enough.”