Royals use up nine lives in loss to Dons

The Santa Barbara baseball team kept knocking at San Marcos’ door on Tuesday, putting runners on at least second base during each of the first five innings. Yet the game remained scoreless at the beginning of the sixth.

The Royals finally opened the door with a crippling error in the top half of that inning and the Dons came crashing through with nine runs on their way to a 9-4 Channel League win at San Marcos.

The error should have been pinned on the gusting winds instead of second baseman Brandon Atelian, who made a nice play charging a Danny Zandona sacrifice bunt but had his throw knocked down into the dirt and Victor Acevedo was unable to come up with it.

“It was just that one inning, that one play. It kind of just set the tone for that whole inning,” thought Royals catcher Riley Moore. “It got to us when it shouldn’t have.”


From there the Royals couldn’t get an out, allowing 10-straight Dons to reach base. Trey Barrett gave Santa Barbara a 1-0 lead with an RBI single that scored Collin Dewell from second base in the at-bat following the error and then Robert Crawford connected for a sharply hit single to left that scored Zandona.

Spencer Fraker and Dewell pounded back-to-back 2-RBI doubles in the inning.

The wind was so powerful, Zandona felt it aided him in recording his seventh win in eight starts.

“The wind was knocking down all kinds of flyballs so it allowed me to pitch to contact more,” he said. “My fastball was getting a little quicker because it was behind me.”

San Marcos did respond to the Dons’ big inning in the bottom half of the sixth with four runs. Landon Boneck missed a home run by less than a foot but still scored Pat Cavalier on an RBI double.

The Royals almost scored first in the fifth inning when Matt Roberts singled to centerfield just outside the reach of a diving Dewell. A Santa Barbara throwing error allowed Roberts to reach third base with one out and San Marcos head coach put on the squeeze play.

“With both teams struggling to score runs, I’m thinking the first team to score would be the team to win,” Crawford reasoned.

He ended up being correct, as Zandona quickly fielded Moore’s bunt and threw out Roberts at the plate.

The Dons improve their Channel League record to 4-5 with three games left on the schedule. San Marcos lost its fourth straight league game after a 3-2 start to fall to 3-6.

Still, Crawford pointed out that his senior-laden team has extra motivation heading into Friday’s game at Santa Barbara having never beaten the Dons, making the Royals a dangerous team.

“That’s a good team. We’re a good team too. We definitely have a shot in it,” said Moore.


Santa Barbara 000 009 0 – 9 11 4

San Marcos    000 004 0 – 4 7 3

SB – Zandona, SM – Stathopoulos, Wieland (6), Cavalier (6), Gastow (7)