Steady offensive production and solid relief pitching lifted the Santa Barbara High baseball team to an 8-2 victory over San Marcos on Friday afternoon.
With Channel League play in full swing, the rivalry game was key for both teams as they seek to climb the standings. After a 4-3 loss to Dos Pueblos in its league opener, the Dons have now won three straight going into a noon showdown with Cabrillo on Saturday.
“They were fired up to play the rivalry game. Against (Dos Pueblos) I don’t think I took it as seriously as the kids took it and I don’t think I really understood the rivalry so I kind of played it down,” said Santa Barbara coach Steve Schuck. “I should have known against DP that they had emotions and I neglected that and today I had them prepared.”
The Santa Barbara bats were ready to go in the top of the first inning. With one out and the bases loaded Frankie Gamberdella singled to right field driving in Anthony Firestone, but starting pitcher Derek True was thrown out at home plate.
The next batter, Jordan Harris doubled to bring home Nick Dallow and Gamberdella increasing the Dons’ lead to 3-0.
San Marcos responded in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run single by Jack Winterbauer that brought home Henry Manfredonia and Isaac Villarreal. Unfortunately for the Royals, that was all the offensive production they would muster.
Winterbuer started the game on the mound for San Marcos, but didn’t record an out in the third inning as Firestone was hit by a pitch and the next two batters True and Dallow were walked to load the bases.
Bret Hyman came on in relief of Winterbauer, but issued a bases loaded walk to Gamberdella driving in Firestone. With one out in the inning, a groundout by Warrecker scored True, extending the Santa Barbara lead to 5-2.
“In high school baseball you want to get into their bullpen as quickly as possible,” Schuck said. “We just preach jump out early. I know out here they like to sac bunt and all that stuff and it’s hard to sac bunt when you’re down.”
Santa Barbara (4-3 overall, 3-1 Channel League) added three runs in the top of the fifth inning with the majority of the damage coming on a two-out, two-run double by Kai Uchio, who also made a couple spectacular plays at second base.
Carter Park came on in relief of True in the bottom of the fifth inning and pitched three scoreless innings.
San Marcos (5-5 overall, 2-3 Channel League) will host Royal in a non-league game Saturday before jumping back into league play with a game at Cabrillo on Tuesday.