Dons deliver in the clutch, take series finale against DP

The last time Kees t’Sas started on the mound for the Santa Barbara High baseball team it was on the road in the second round of last year’s CIF playoffs. He shut out Chaminade that day.

t’Sas was making his 2011 starting debut in Friday’s crucial rubber game of the three-game Channel League series at Dos Pueblos and he was struggling in the third inning. Dons pitching coach Mike Cooney visited the mound and reminded t’Sas of that Chaminade game.

He went on to retired eight of the next nine batters, got offensive support from home runs by Colin Eaton and Collin Dewell and received excellent relief help from Danny Zandona to beat the Chargers 7-3 before an overflow crowd at DP’s field.

The victory not only enabled Santa Barbara to win the rivalry series 2-1 it also put the Dons one win closer to clinching the Channel League title. They are 9-1 (18-5 overall) with two league games remaining against Venutura.

Dos Pueblos falls to 5-2 (15-5 overall) and has three games next week against Buena (4-3).

t’Sas had shoulder surgery last summer and had made only one pitching appearance this season before Friday. But the Dons needed him for this final game of the three-game set against DP.

Santa Barbara coach Fred Warrecker said t’Sas gave a gutty performance on the mound. He allowed three runs on four hits, walked three, hit a batter and struck out five.

He fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, as Steven Reveles drew a lead-off walk, stole second and scored on a RBI single to right center by Michael Spiritosanto.

Eaton and Dewell gave their teammate a big boost with their home runs. Eaton, after his hard ground down the third-base line was called foul, belted the next pitch from DP starter Colin Cole far over the left field fence to tie the score.

Cam Gniadek kept the inning alive with a two-out single and Spencer Fraker followed with a walk. The left-handed Dewell came up and ripped a lined drive over the right-field fence for a three-run homer and a 4-1 Santa Barbara lead.

Dewell homered in all three games of the series.

“Collin Dewell was a monster this week, he really was,” DP coach Nate Mendoza said of the Arizona-bound center fielder-pitcher. “He’s a smooth hitter.”

Dos Pueblos battled back, taking advantage of another lead-off walk to score two runs in the third. After Dylan Rohde walked and Reveles doubled to left, t’Sas got Ben York to bounce to shortstop Zandona, who threw out Rohde at home plate. Spiritosanto drew a walk, prompting the visit from Cooney. Kyle Richardson smashed a two-run double, cutting the Dons’ lead to 4-3.

t’Sas kept his composure and retired the next two batters to end the inning. He lasted until the sixth when he started to get tired.

It was more than Warrecker expected from him.

“We were hoping, hoping for four,” the coach said. “We were thinking it would be three, we were hoping for four and all of sudden he really started to roll.”

His outing impressed his teammates.

“Absolutely nails,” raved Dewell. “He comes out and throws a game like that, it’s unbelievable. The guys we have on this team were stepping up today in the biggest game of the year and probably the biggest game I’ve played in high school.”

“That was money out there,” said left fielder Nick Below. “We all knew he could do it it. Once he got his confidence, he was dealing.”

t’Sas said the walk-up music played for each DP hitter pumped him up. There was Eminem, Led Zeppelin, Guns and Roses, just to name a few.

“I started singing them in my head and it kind of worked out.,” he said with smile. “That was kind of cool, it backfired (on them).”

t’Sas got another boost from Below in the fourth inning. He delivered a two-out, two-run double to left and scored himself on a single by Gniadek.

“It felt pretty good, being at the bottom of the order and producing down there,” said Below.

“Their two-out hitting was phenomenal,” Mendoza said. “They had big hits at the bottom of the order and we couldn’t contribute in that way. That was the big difference in the game: we weren’t good with two outs and they were. We had multiple innings to get on the board and it just didn’t happen.”

The Dons’ victory wasn’t complete until Zandona put his mark on it. He came in with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth and retired the next three hitters. On the second out, he ran off the mound to catch a foul ball in front of the Santa Barbara dugout.

In the seventh, he picked off a runner for the second out and got a strike out to end the game.

“That’s an exclamation mark for Zandona,” said Warrecker. “Coming in with bases loaded… Mariano Rivera falters at times in something like that. I thought that was gigantic.

“I’m really pleased. It’s a good group of kids.”


Santa Barbara…004 300 0 — 7 6 3
Dos Pueblos…102 000 0 — 3 4 0
t’Sas, Zandona (6) and Eaton; Cole, Speier (4), Loggins (6), Huthsing (7) and Richardson. W—t’Sas (1-0). L—Cole.

2B—SB: Below. DP: Reveles, Richardson. HR—SB: Eaton, 3rd inn. none on. Dewell, 3rd inn. two on.


  1. Finally dps cheerleaders stop talking

    • ya agreed

    • ya agreed

    • It’s too bad the parents of SB lack a bit of class. I’ve never witnessed a group of parents act so childish at a high school baseball game. I was a neutral fan at both home DP games and I was blown away with how disrespectfull, immature and emotional the parents for SBHS were. Where is the example for your kids, parents? I guess when you win you get full of yourseld at times, but these SBHS parents took it to a whole different level. Congrats to the SBHS baseball players as they played strong, shame on the SBHS parents for being such poor examples of what adults are supposed to act like.