BB: Dons deliver in the clutch for first victory

Santa Barbara High’s baseball team celebrated its first victory of the season on Tuesday, pulling out a 5-3 decision over Righetti in a Central Coast Tournament game at Eddie Mathews Field.

Michael Day slid under the catcher following a high throw to the plate to break a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning and Skyler Sabado capped an impressive at-bat with a bases-loaded walk to score an insurance run.

UC Irvine-bound Johnny Brontsema pitched the sixth and seventh innings to pick up the win for Santa Barbara (1-1-1). Brontsema replaced starter Gabe Grandcolas, who pitched five solid shutout innings before Righetti score three runs off him in the sixth to tie the score.

Grandcolas and Righetti starter Troy Prober were engaged in a tough pitching duel for four innings.

Santa Barbara got to Prober in the fifth, scoring three runs on three hits. Toby Minehan started the inning by beating out a roller to shortstop. Pete Ghersen sacrificed him to third and Ian True followed with a booming double to the left-field fence for the first run of the game. After a strikeout, Connor McManigal drew a walk and Sabado singled up the middle to drive home True.

Righetti replaced Prober with Blade Kearns. Brontsema was the first batter and he was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jeff Paschke was at the plate when a wild pitch brought home McManigal for a 3-0 Santa Barbara lead.

In the sixth, True made a nice running catch in left field to rob Righetti’s Wyatt Call of an extra-base hit. But the Warriors got a walk, a double to left by Chris Curiel and a two-run single by Isaiah Ramos to get back in the game. Matt Watkins drew another walk, and Grandcolas was replaced by Brontsema.

An error on Cayse Rocco’s grounder to second loaded the bases for the Warriors. They scored the tying run on Sebastian Guillen’s ground out. The Dons then intentionally walked speedy Cameron Jones before Brontsema got the third out on a grounder to third.

In Santa Barbara’s sixth, Day lead off with a single and Minehan and Ghersen reached base on bunt singles. With one out, Tyler Newman hit a roller back to the box that was fielded by the pitcher, but he threw high to the plate, allowing Day to slide in for the go-ahead run.

Day and Minehan each had two hits for the Dons and Sabado drove in two runs. On his second RBI in the sixth, Sabado fouled off five pitches with a 3-2 count before drawing a bases-loaded walk.

Santa Barbara continues the tournament on Thursday at San Luis Obispo.

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