After more than three hours of baseball, Friday’s WSC battle between SBCC and Hancock came down to a guessing game.
With two runners on and one out in the 10th inning, Joey Gonzalez guessed right and stroked a walk-off RBI single, scoring catcher Jared Dinges and giving the Vaqueros an 8-7 victory at Pershing Park.
“I was sitting on changeup but I knew he might throw a fastball away and if he did, I was going to take it the other way,” said Gonzalez, a former Santa Barbara High standout after hitting an 0-2 pitch to right-center. “I got my pitch and stroked it.
“We always fight back when we’re down. There’s no shot clock in baseball.”
With one out in the 10th, Dinges singled and took second on an error. Then Eli Michaels walked, setting the stage for Gonzalez.
Joey Epperson was 3-4 for the Vaqueros (9-10, 3-2 WSC) while Dinges was 2-2 and scored three runs. River Stevens paced Hancock (5-13, 2-3) by going 3-5.
Gonzalez, Zach Zehner and Steven Reveles all had two hits for the Vaqueros, who collected 14 on the day, one more than the Bulldogs.
Rich McCaffrey went the first six innings for the Vaqueros, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits. He struck out eight and walked three. Shane Turner (1-1) pitched one-hit ball for the last three innings to earn his first victory.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, SBCC rallied and took a 6-3 lead with three runs in the sixth. Mark Jebbia had an RBI groundout, Dinges drove a sacrifice fly to right and Eli Michaels delivered a run-scoring single.
Hancock responded with four in the seventh to go ahead 7-6. The Vaqueros tied it in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Zehner.
“We did a lot of positive things that we haven’t done in a while,” said coach Jeff Walker. “We did a good job of punching back after they took the lead. Our guys are tough and they played hard.
“I was pleased with our offensive approach. The difference was we got timely hits.”
The Vaqueros travel to Hancock on Saturday for a 1 p.m.
SBCC 8, HANCOCK 7, 10 innings
Hancock ……. 200 001 400 0 — 7 13 4
SBCC ……….. 101 013 100 1 — 8 14 3
One out when winning run scored.
Bower, Borsum (6), Perez (7) and Mallory; McCaffrey, Benenati (7), Turner (8) and Dinges. W–Turner 1-1. L–Perez 1-3.
2B–H: Cano, Mallory.