It has been a month since Santa Barbara High won a Channel League baseball game.
The Dons got back on the winning track on Tuesday, taking advantage of 17 walks and five hit batters in a 19-2 rout of San Marcos at Eddie Mathews Field.
Scoring a lopsided win against its crosstown rival wasn’t a big deal to Santa Barbara. The important thing was getting a victory to stay in the playoff hunt. The Dons hadn’t won a league game since beating San Marcos 2-0 back on March 16.
“The score belies the importance of the game,” Dons assistant Mike Cooney said.
Santa Barbara improves to 2-4 in league and 11-7 overall. San Marcos is 2-5 and 8-10. Dos Pueblos and Ventura share first place in the standings at 4-2 while Buena is 3-2.
“We have really struggled (in league),” Santa Barbara head coach Fred Warrecker said. “We lost twice to Buena and lost to Ventura and Dos Pueblos. We don’t have a bad team. We went down to the Anaheim Tournament and played good teams and went 4-1.”
San Marcos scored first in the game, with Paxton Ridgway ripping a Kees t’Sas pitch to the left-field fence to bring home Sean McDuffee for a 1-0 lead.
Santa Barbara responded in the bottom of the second, capitalizing on the Royals’ pitching woes to score seven runs. The Dons drew five walks, had a hit batter and got singles by Connor McManigal and Kenny Crawford.
They added seven more runs in the third with the help of five walks, another hit batsman and three errors.
“It doesn’t matter what level of baseball you’re playing, from little league to major leagues, if you walk 17, have five errors and hit five batters, you’re not going to win any game,” San Marcos assistant Michael Sandford said. “This was an embarrassment. Our pitchers are better than that. You’ve got to throw strikes to win and we didn’t do it.”
“I feel bad for San Marcos. It was a game where it just came apart,” Warrecker said. “Only in baseball can this happen. Baseball is unforgiving in a game like this.”
Anthony Branch provided an offensive highlight for the Royals with a solo home run to left field in the third inning.
Also in the third, Santa Barbara shortstop Johnny Brontsema turned a spectacular web gem on a ball hit up the middle by McDuffee. Brontsema made a diving stop behind the second-base bag and threw out the runner at first while still on the ground.
“That one play John Brontsema made, you couldn’t see a better play anywhere in the world,” said Warrecker.
The Dons got a solid outing from t’Sas. He pitched six innings and gave up four hits and struck out five.
“It was hard for pitchers sitting so long between innings,” Warrecker noted. “Kees did a real good job.”
T’Sas also had three RBIs and scored three runs. McManigal and Jason Jimenez each had two RBIs.
The Dons and Royals play again on Friday at San Marcos’ Joe Mueller Field.
Santa Barbara 19, San Marcos 2
San Marcos…011 000 0 — 2 5 3
Santa Barbara…077 041 x — 19 7 0
Doherty, Prince (2), Branch (2), Ridgway (3), Rodriguez (5) and McDuffee; t’Sas, Churchill (7) and St. John. W—t’Sas (4-4). L—Doherty (1-3).
2B—SM: Ridgway. HR—SM: Branch, 3rd inn. none on