Mountain View High pitcher James Hoyt lived up to his nickname Thursday night.
“We call him ‘Big Game James,’” head coach Kris Mims said of the junior, who pitched the 10th-seeded Spartans to a 2-0 win over No. 6 Bellarmine in the Central Coast Section Division I semifinals. “He’s definitely a gamer who likes to compete.”
Hoyt, who is 4-0 in CCS as a varsity pitcher, was masterful Thursday at Excite Stadium (formerly San Jose Muni). He allowed only two hits, struck out 10 and walked just one in a complete-game effort.
“He attacked hitters early in the count and got ahead of them with his curve and fastball,” Mims said. “He battled and kept them off balance all game.”
It didn’t hurt that Mountain View’s offense produced two runs in the first frame.
“Getting that lead early was huge,” Mims said.
And the Spartans got it without a hit.
Aided by Bellarmine’s early struggles on the mound and behind the plate, Mountain View utilized its speed to score both runs.
Leadoff Gabe Harris walked on four pitches, advanced to second base on a passed ball and to third on another pitch that eluded the catcher. Tristan Silveira walked, putting runners on first and third with no outs.
That prompted Mims – whose club swiped the most bases in CCS this year – to call a double steal. Going on the catcher’s first movement, Silveira beat the high throw to second, and Harris – whom Mims called “probably the fastest guy on the field” – easily slid into home plate ahead of the throw.
A wild pitch enabled Silveira to advance to third and, after an out, the junior scored on another wild pitch.
The Spartans (19-10-1 overall) didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning and totaled just two.
Evan Nance singled in the sixth with Silveira on second and Mims sent him home. But this time, the Bells (16-14) made Mountain View pay for its aggressiveness. Silveira was thrown out at the plate.
“We took a chance, and they made a good throw home,” Mims said. “That seemed to ignite the Bellarmine crowd.”
Hoyt put a damper on that by setting down the Bells in order in the bottom of the sixth. He induced two pop-ups and struck out the other batter.
“He wanted the game and took control of it himself,” Mims said. “We figured that if we held them under 3 runs, we would win – and Hoyt decided not to give them anything.”
He struck out the side in the seventh, sending the Spartans to their first CCS final.
“He seemed to get stronger as the game went on,” Mims said of Hoyt, who threw 95 pitches.
Mountain View was scheduled to face No. 4 Leland (19-7-2) in Saturday’s final, played after the Town Crier’s deadline. The Spartans started the season against the Chargers, playing them to a 6-all tie Feb. 20 in the opening round of the Michael DeJesus Memorial Tournament at Milpitas High.
“We were up 6-2 and they rallied late,” Mims said of a game that ended in seven innings due to darkness. “They’re a good team, and I think we’ll have to score five or six runs to win.”
The coach was confident his club – which beat three higher-seeded teams to reach the final – was up for the task.
“The kids are excited and really focused,” he said. “They know what’s at stake.”
Third-seeded St. Francis scored early and often en route to a 7-4 win over No. 2 Notre Dame-Salinas in the CCS Open Division semifinals May 22 at Los Gatos High.
The Lancers jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, scored two more in the third and entered the sixth up 7-1. That proved more than enough runs to fend off a late rally by Notre Dame (23-4).
Sophia Roth and Jessica Oakland both homered for St. Francis (24-5-1). Brooke Deppiesse totaled three hits, including a double, and drove in a run.
Winning pitcher Lauren Baker struck out three.
Defending champion St. Francis was slated to face No. 8 Mitty (21-4) in Saturday’s final, played after the Town Crier’s deadline.
Mountain View singles players Dean Tan and Sarah Chun both made it to the fourth-place games of the CCS individual finals May 11 at Independence High.
Tan went 4-2 in boys singles, eliminated by Palo Alto’s Brandon Wu 21-9, 16-21, 23-21.
Chun posted a 3-1 record in girls singles, falling to Westmont’s Julie Yang 21-8, 21-12. Chun upset second-seeded Raeka Lin of South San Francisco in the second round, 18-21, 21-17, 22-20.