Renda hoping to send Cal baseball team out with a bang

If this really will be the last year in the 12 decades of baseball at Cal, then the Golden Bears have every intention to go out with a bang.

“We’re going to give them one hell of a last season,” Bears coach David Esquer said.

The Bears entered this weekend’s three-game Caravelle Resort’s Tournament in Conway, S.C., feeling good about themselves after a 2-1 start to the season.

Cal is coming off a 2010 season that saw it finish 29-25 and reach the NCAA regionals. For 2011, Cal has its sights set on one last Pac-10 Conference title before the team walks off Evans Diamond for the last time.

And right in the middle of that mix is sophomore second baseman Tony Renda, a Serra High School alum, who has already caught Esquer’s eye as well as many others.

“He’s one of the best freshman hitters I’ve ever seen,” Esquer said prior to the team heading for South Carolina this past week. “He’s one of the best pure hitters I’ve ever coached.”

Renda’s freshman season was almost a career for other players as he batted .373 in 54 games with three home runs and 37 RBIs hitting out of the leadoff spot for most of the season. But Renda performed no matter where Esquer put him in the Bears’ lineup.

“We moved him around a lot last year before we decided he was better off batting leadoff and getting as many at-bats as possible,” Esquer said. “This year we’ve moved him to third in the lineup, but he can hit anywhere.”

About the only thing Renda did not do last year for the Bears was hit a grand slam, something Esquer figures will happen sooner rather than later. But whether or not he does that in a Bears uniform remains to be seen.

Unless the decision to discontinue the baseball program is somehow reversed, Renda and his nonsenior teammates will all face the prospect of finding another school to play for next year.  

“It’s been on their minds, especially before the season started,” Esquer said. “But its part of our job to make sure these kids are taken care of and we’ve spent some time with them doing just that.”

Esquer noted that the players have come to terms with being the last Bears team and have dedicated themselves on helping the program go out on a positive note and letting the future take care of itself. But finding a new home for Renda isn’t too much of a concern for Esquer, who figures the infielder will have plenty of schools willing to give him a place to finish his collegiate career.

“He could go anywhere he wants,” Esquer said, comparing Renda to major leaguer Dustin Pedroia. And Esquer figures there’s even more baseball ahead for Renda beyond his college days.

“He absolutely has a pro career waiting for him,” Esquer said of Renda, who was drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers. “He’s an unbelievable person and one of the finest young men I’ve ever met.”

 

Quick to impress

A look at Tony Renda’s freshman season for Cal in 2010:

.373  Batting average

Home runs

37  RBIs

55  Runs scored (fifth best in the Pac-10)

13  Stolen bases (eighth best in the Pac-10)

BaseballcollegeCollege SportsPac-10

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A health care worker receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020. (Courtesy SFgov)
SF to open three large sites for COVID-19 vaccinations

Breed: ‘We need more doses. We are asking for more doses’

Tongo Eisen-Martin, a Bernal Heights resident, named San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tongo Eisen-Martin becomes San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate

Bernal Heights resident Tongo Eisen-Martin has become San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.… Continue reading

Homeless people's tents can be seen on Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/S.F. Examiner)
Statewide business tax could bring new funds to combat homelessness

San Francisco could get more than $100 million a year for housing, rental assistance, shelter beds

The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco (a mural by artist Jamie Treacy is pictued) has a lineup of free online programming including activities for youngsters scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18. (Courtesy Demetri Broxton/Museum of the African Diaspora)
Stanford, Museum of the African Diaspora host MLK Day activities

Online offerings include films, music, discussion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides the US House of Representatives vote on the impeachment of US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol, January 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. - The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on January 13 opened debate on a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters' attack of the Capitol that left five dead. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
House votes 232-197 to impeach Trump a second time

Focus shifts to Senate, where McConnell has signaled he may not stand by president

Most Read