With his father’s music playing over the speakers before the game at Santa Barbara’s Eddie Mathews Field, Dos Pueblos starter Luke Loggins felt right at home pitching against the Dons.
The relaxed Loggins threw five shutout innings, and Dos Pueblos erupted for five runs in the second en route to a 9-0 win over the defending Channel League champions on Tuesday.
Dos Pueblos improves to 8-2 and 2-0 in league play. Santa Barbara is 6-3, 1-2.
In his first career start against Santa Barbara, Loggins, the son of pop-rock singer Kenny Loggins, struck out five and scattered six singles in a rock-solid performance.
“I really wasn’t nervous at all,” Loggins said. “They were playing my dad’s music before the game and it got me in the zone. They played ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ ‘Footloose,’ the classics. That was stuff I would go to sleep with as a kid, so it got me all relaxed.”
Loggins said Santa Barbara played the music on purpose. “I’m friends with a lot of those guys, so they were joking around.”
DP coach Nate Mendoza said Loggins’ success on the mound (he’s 4-1) has been crucial because returning starters Joe Huthsing and Gabe Speier haven’t been able to pitch.
“He just stepped it up,” Mendoza said. “Without having Joe and Gabe so far this year, Luke has just risen to the challenge. I’m proud of him. He worked really hard in the offseason, so it’s really nice to see it pay off He just goes toe-to-toe with whomever he’s facing.”
Loggins was aided by a defense that didn’t make an error and a potent offense, led by third baseman Brett Patton.
Patton, who returned to baseball after playing on the golf team last year, reached base four times, going 3-for-3 with a solo homer in the fifth, a double in the sixth and three runs.
“I just had a good mindset; just look for my pitch,” Patton said of his approach at the plate. “When I hit the homer, he threw me a hanging curve ball and I got all over it.”
Patton said he missed baseball last season and decided to put the golf clubs away for his senior year.
“I was struggling a little bit in golf and I missed the whole baseball environment and that kind of drew me back here,” he said. “I missed the morale of a team and everything that goes along with baseball.”
He said he was excited to play against the Dons.
“This is my first rival game since my sophomore year and it meant a lot to me, so I came out and gave it my best.”
Except for the first inning when they got two runners on base, the Dons struggled offensively against Loggins.
“He threw strikes,” Santa Barbara coach Fred Warrecker said. “For us, we had trouble throwing strikes. We had eight walks, one hit batter, that’s nine right there. And, we misplayed three balls in the outfield.
“I think (the Chargers) are probalby a better team than we are right now,” Warrecker added. “We can’t make the mistakes that we made. They hit some balls hard, their pitcher threw strikes and they were in control of the game after the first inning.”
Colin Cole hit a two-run single and Ben York belted a three-run double to stake the Chargers to a 5-0 lead in the second inning.
Patton and Daniel Vickers drew back-to-back one-out walks on 3-2 pitches from Santa Barbara starter Kees T’sas. Dylan Rohde followed with a high chopper in the infield that he beat out for a single to load the bases. That brought up Cole, who lined a single to center to bring in Patton and Vickers.
Anthony Spiritosanto was hit by a pitch to reload the bases and York cleared them when he hammered a ball to deep center that went off the center fielder’s glove.
“That got our dugout electrified. It gave us momentum and we kept it,” said Mendoza.
Dos Pueblos padded its lead in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Speier. York scored the run after walking and moving to third on a single to right by Nolan Soto.
Patton belted his homer to left leading off the fifth to make it 7-0.
After reliever Zach Torres got two outs in the sixth, Patton just missed hitting a second homer as his drive hit the top of the left-field fence. He would score on a triple to center by Vickers and Rohde blooped a single to left to drive in the final run.
Dos Pueblos 9, Santa Barbara 0
Dos Pueblos…050 112 0 — 9 10 0
Santa Barbara…000 000 0 — 0 7 0
Loggins, Cole (6) and Huthsing; T’Sas, Torres (4) and St. John. W—Loggins (4-1). L—T’Sas (3-2).
HR—DP: Patton, 5th inn. none on. 3B—DP: Vickers. 2B—DP: York, Patton