Royals rake in Channel League win

San Marcos starting pitcher Kelly McKay said she had a good feeling about Tuesday’s Channel League clash with Santa Barbara High. That feeling proved true as the Royals picked up their first Channel League victory with a 5-4 extra-inning decision over the Dons.

“We all felt it before the game,” McKay said. “We just felt the energy and were seriously focused. We were more relaxed and ready to play.”

A thrilled San Marcos dugout empties after the Royals scored the game-winning run.


McKay certainly felt right, going 3-for-4 at the plate while striking out seven in a complete-game effort from the pitcher’s circle. McKay scored two runs in the game, including the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth inning.

With two out, McKay singled to left, bringing Corinne Yingling to the plate. A wild-pitch allowed McKay to take second base but the senior alertly darted for third after noticing that the Dons third baseman had abandoned the bag while backing up the catcher. Another wild pitch allowed McKay to scamper home for the walk-off score.

“At third I was just ready to steal and then, finally, the pitcher gave a wild one so I was there,” McKay said.

Santa Barbara pitcher Rebecca Neilsen-Robbins had pitched a fine game up until that point and the Dons had never trailed, holding two-run leads of 3-1 and 4-2 before the Royals tied the game at 4-4 with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“I just really like the way we hung in there,” said Royals head coach Alex Sheldon, whose team now holds a record of 5-7, 1-4.

Santa Barbara has a better league record at 1-3, but is 1-8 overall. Dons head coach Robert Harris was short on words after the stunning loss.

“We just rebound,” Harris said. “We compose ourselves and get back into the game.”

Santa Barbara can erase the bad feeling on Wednesday in a non-league game at Santa Ynez.

Mary Anne Giles and Neilsen-Robbins accounted for all four runs for the Dons, who collected 10 hits as a team. Catcher Sheila Lopez had Santa Barbara’s one extra-base hit, a double in the seventh inning. Angela Biancone recorded two RBIs in the game for the Dons, the last one knocking in Giles to build the 4-2 lead in the top of the sixth.

“At that point when we’re down by two, normally we would have just given up and just tried to shake it off and say ‘oh well, I guess we tried,” McKay said.  “But this time we actually picked it up and realized there was a chance, and that we are a good team, and that we can finally come together and come out on top.”

San Marcos’ league record stands at 1-4 while its overall record is 5-7.


Santa Barbara 101 101 00 – 4 8 2

San Marcos     010 102 01 – 5 9 3

SB – Neilsen-Robbins, and Lopez. SM – McKay, and Flattery. 2b – SM 3(Ball, Fretz, McKay), SB 1 (Lopez) 3b – SM 1 (McKay).