Pitcher Albert Garcia of Birmingham was missing last season. He disappeared from the mound after being the co-City Section player of the year in 2018. He was overweight and had a lower back injury. When this season began, he was pretty much forgotten. But he has returned with a vengeance.
In 17 innings, he’s 2-0 with an 0.40 ERA. On Thursday night, he struck out six in 4 2/3 innings to help the three-time defending City champions knock off No. 2-ranked JSerra on the road 2-1. It was the first lost for JSerra. Freshman Gavin Taylor got the save. The combination of a healthy Garcia, a promising Taylor and the return of senior Gavino Rosales makes the Patriots (6-2) very much in contention to win a fourth straight City title.
Garcia has lost 15 pounds from last season and his arm is feeling good.
Gavin Taylor 2023 Catcher/SS/RHP- Last night Freshman @gtbaseball7 thrives on the Mound facing #2 JSerra HS Top of their Line-Up for the last out in the 5th, 6th and 7th Innings for Birmingham HS for the Save. 2.1IP,2k,1BB,1H,0R W2-1 #gavintaylor2023 #bhambaseball @BHAMBASEBALL14 pic.twitter.com/vvJBAnjAcq— Taylor Brothers Baseball (@tracyctaylor1) March 6, 2020
“New body, new approach, new focus,” assistant coach Reggie Smith Jr. said.
The win over JSerra has given Birmingham a boost in confidence.
“Honestly, it was real big,” Garcia said.
Unfortunately, as far as the City Section is concerned, the victory means nothing. Playoff pairings will be decided at the end of the season based solely on what a team does against City teams.
But the win will bring the City Section respect, because one of its top teams was able to defeat one of the best teams in the Southern Section.