Brea Olinda's Dustin Robinson scored the only run of the game. | Credit: Victor Bryant

Lights out pitching and defense kept Santa Barbara and Brea Olinda locked in a scoreless tie until the final inning of play in a CIF-SS Division 4 second round game.

But Brea Olinda finally broke through and scored the only run of the game in the top of the seventh inning to deliver a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Dons on Tuesday at Eddie Matthews Field.

“I told my guys ’I wish we got blown out and we kicked the ball around so I could throw my helmet, yell and scream at you guys, but I can’t. We played a great game,” said Santa Barbara coach Steve Schuck. “Someone had to lose.”

The visiting Wildcats got a leadoff double from senior Dustin Robinson in the top of the seventh inning. Robinson was North Hills League Offensive Player of the Year as a junior. Sam Dunbar followed with a single through to center field that took a bad hop on Santa Barbara’s diving second baseman Kai Mault and scored Robinson.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Santa Barbara managed to draw a two-out walk, but could not bring pinch runner Tomas Gil home to tie the game.

Owen Brown of Brea Olinda and Santa Barbara starter Liam Keithley staged an epic pitcher’s duel. Neither player was overpowering, but both pounded the strike zone, pitched to contact, and let outstanding defenses take over the game.

“It was a well played game on both sides of the ball,” said Brea Olinda coach Rich Pohle. “They played really good defense, we played really good defense. Both pitchers threw a lot of strikes and I think we played that game in under two hours.”

Santa Barbara had a few golden opportunities to break the game open, but couldn’t capitalize. The Dons loaded the bases in the bottom of the first with two outs, but freshman Jettner Welch grounded out to third base, ending the threat.

With one out in the bottom of the third inning Mault launched a double off the left field fence, but was picked off from second base. 

Santa Barbara (14-14) only mustered three hits the entire game and Keithley limited the Brea Olinda offense to four hits. His incredible performance was not enough for the Dons to advance.

With the victory Brea Olinda (15-12) advances to the quarterfinals to take on Linfield Christian of Temecula.

“I’ve got to say goodbye to four guys. It’s not about the scoreboard . It never was about the scoreboard. It’s about developing young men of character, values, and integrity,” Schuck said. “I’m going to lose four guys that fit that bill fine.”

Santa Barbara will return the vast majority of its roster after several freshman and sophomores held key roles this season.

San Marcos, 5; Tahquitz 2

Caden Hodina pitched six solid innings and Cole Schoenwetter closed out the final inning. Owen Estabrook homered to lead the Royals offense. San Marcos will play at Redlands East Valley in the quarterfinals on Friday.


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