Gil’s hitting gives Zandona, Dons a big lift

Pepe Gil wasn’t going to let a good pitching performance from Danny Zandona go to waste on Tuesday

The Santa Barbara High senior left-handed first baseman ripped his second double of the game to drive in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, leading the top-ranked Dons to a 3-1 victory over Ventura in a Channel League baseball game at Eddie Mathews Field.

Santa Barbara improves to 9-1 and 3-0 in league play, while Ventura falls to 3-5-1, 1-2.

Gil’s double to the fence in left-center field fence scored Kees t’Sas to break a 1-1 tie and chased Ventura’s 6-foot-4, hard-throwing starter Nick Griffith.

“That double really felt good,” said Gil, who scored two runs. “I thought I connected well on the ball. I was thinking up the entire time and he gave me a good pitch to hit and I just drove it.”

“He was due to really drive one, and lucky for us he did drive one,” said Dons coach Fred Warrecker.

The Dons added an insurance run in the sixth off Cougar reliever Billy Davidson. Zandona reached base on an infield single, Johnny Brontsema moved Gil to third on a flyout to right and Kenny Crawford lined a RBI single to left.

Zandona finished the game with a 1-2-3 seventh to earn his fourth win of the season against no losses.

The senior right-hander was in top form against the Cougars. He struck out eight, allowed one run in the sixth and gave up four hits.

The run came after giving up a lead-off walk to Tyler Hawkins, who then stole second. Griffiths singled to left to score Hawkins and tie the score at 1-1.

“I got a little soft in the fifth and sixth with a curve ball that was flattening out a bit,” Zandona said. “I was able to put it together in the seventh and finish it out.”

His performance pleased Warrecker.

“Danny was so nails on the mound for us,” Warrecker said. “He gives us a chance to win every time he goes out there.”

Added Gil: “Coach always says you’re as good as your pitching and your defense. Danny was just oustanding. We played good D and that’s what happens. (Ventura) is a good ballclub, but we came out on top.”

Zandona and Griffiths staged a good pitching duel.

“When (the Cougars) got that guy on the mound, they’re tough to handle,” Warrecker said of Griffiths.

The Dons were able to gain the upper hand against Griffiths in the second inning. Gil hit an opposite-field double to left, moved to third on a single by Zandona and scored on a fielder’s choice by Brontsema.

Griffiths got the Dons to hit into a double play to end the inning. The Cougars turned three double plays in the game.

Santa Barbara had a chance to break the game open in the third inning, but a misread sign led to confusion on the basepaths. With t’Sas batting, Cameron Gniadek bolted for the plate from third base and was easily tagged out by the catcher. t’Sas flew out to end the scoring threat.

The Dons, however, never got down and found a way to win.

“We did what we had to do,” said Warrecker.

Santa Barbara returns to action Saturday with two games at the 54-team Anaheim Lions Tournament. The tournament features several teams in CIF Division 2.




  1. V baseball says

    What a class guy Warrecker and his approach is also reflected in his team. No wonder SB is always in the running for the Channel League. Coaching makes a huge difference and it is so evident here. Congrats to SB on a well played game.