By John Philip Wyllie
After getting off to a slow 1-3 start Bonita Vista’s baseball team has battled back to a 15-7 record. More importantly, they have opened their Mesa League season with five consecutive victories including a 4-3 extra inning thriller on Tuesday against highly regarded Eastlake. Mexican-born sophomore shortstop Oscar Sanay has been a major contributor to the Barons turnaround.
He has played like an industrial size vacuum cleaner at shortstop and his .472 batting average has made him the team’s most efficient hitter. Only outfielder Christian Mua has better slugging percentage (.750 vs. .667) and only Mua has more home runs (3 vs. 2). But while Mua will be departing for college baseball next fall, Baron coach Vincent Gevais will have Sanay in blue and gold for the next two and a half seasons.
“Oscar is the epitome of a baseball player,” Gervais said. “There is something unique about him. He is good at everything that he does. He has been well coached prior to coming here and he is smooth with a glove and has good footwork. He knows the game as well as anybody his age and he takes control of the game from his shortstop position. I have also been pleasantly surprised by his bat. He has led off for us and he is among the county leaders in batting average. Oscar gets the job done.”
Growing up without a father and initially south of the border gave Sanay some obstacles to overcome once he arrived here. He credits his mother with keeping him focused and his older brother for teaching him the game of baseball.
“My brother played here for four years as the starting shortstop and he had quick hands and quick feet. He tried to teach me a lot. He was my mentor and also my toughest critic, but he taught me a lot. I tried to please him every time I played but he was rarely satisfied. When he was and when he was proud of me it was a great feeling.”
Sanay fondly remembers the time he spent playing Little League. It was then that baseball became his passion. Several years earlier however, his mother enrolled him in Tee-Ball.
“I played in the South Bay League and the other parents used to tell my mom that I was really good so she kept pushing me and pushing me both in baseball and in school.”
School was initially a struggle since Spanish was the only language spoken in his home.
“I didn’t learn to speak English until I was six. I had to really practice and take different classes in elementary school. I saw the other kids speaking English and I just wanted to be like them. Once it started to stick with me I started to lose my Spanish, but my mom told me that speaking both languages would be important once I was ready to start looking for a job so now I can speak both languages.
His English and his ability on the baseball diamond have improved simultaneously.
When I started in Little League I was playing in the outfield. I used to see the ball going right through our shortstop and we kept losing. I decided to develop my skills as an infielder and I worked very hard at it. The coach liked me and gave me a shot at it.”
And he has been a shortstop ever since. He likes being involved in the action and the responsibility that comes with the job.
“I like having the ball in my hands. If we win it is often because of what I have done and also what the rest of the team has done. If we lose it is my fault.”
They only lost once in April while posting eight wins. If May proves to be as kind to them Sanay and his teammates should have a shot at making some noise in the CIF playoffs.