When Pierce looked down and out, after an ugly showing in game one of the first round, there were a lot of questions about the status of the team.
Were they too shell-shocked from their performance that they were going to get swept? What happened to the bat of freshman stud Joe Moran who went 0-3 in game one?
Then the same old question throughout the season appeared again: how are the Brahmas going to stack up in any situation with only eight pitchers and two definite starters in Harsa Prahara and Michael Knopf?
But along came the calm and collected Daniel Barazza, who during game one was almost an afterthought. Even though there were many negative thoughts swirling around him, like the fact he had struggled to get out of an inning and hadn’t pitched since the month of February, he listened to none of the talk.
His personality pretty much dictates the way he pitches. Quiet, soft-spoken and relaxed, he doesn’t talk a lot and when he does it is simple and with perspective.
Yet when the Brahmas needed someone to answer the bell after Prahara pitched a gem in game two, it was Barazza who stepped up. His calm demeanor in the face of elimination was the x-factor that ultimately decided the Brahmas’ fate. The lanky 6-foot-3-inch Barazza did the simple things to help the Brahmas achieve their first Super Regional berth since 2006. He pitched calmly and effectively.
During games two and three he didn’t do anything spectacular. He only struck out four batters between the two games. He didn’t throw a fastball that rocked the radar guns. He simply threw strikes to his catcher.
Because of his calm approach on the mound, even with the rest of the team on the edge, his composure is what saved the Brahmas and brought them to the series against their conference nemesis Oxnard College.
Barazza did not get a win in either of the games he pitched. He earned a save in game two and had a no decision in game three. Even without the wins individually, his poise is what kept the Brahmas alive.
Not only are the Brahmas alive, but they are alive and well. Now they will have to go all the way to enemy territory in Oxnard to face two pitchers that throw over 90 mph who have also lost four in a row.
If the last series is indicative of how the playoffs are going to be and how the Brahmas are going to succeed, they will need another effort from the cool and calm Daniel Barazza.