BB: Dons win on a dramatic comeback against Westlake

This is the kind of game that could define a season.

Santa Barbara High’s baseball team was getting dominated by Westlake on Saturday in the opener of the Chatsworth Tournament. The Dons were trailing 6-0 and didn’t have a hit after three innings.

But Santa Barbara kept battling and found a way to win. It scored four runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the bottom of the seventh to score a wild 7-6 comeback victory.

“It was one of the most incredible comebacks I’ve seen in years,” assistant coach Mike Cooney said.

The Dons scored the winning run on a perfectly executed squeeze play by Peter Ghersen. With two strikes, Ghersen laid down a bunt along the third baseline and Michael Day raced home to cap the comeback.

“To get a win in that situation is pretty incredible. The kids never got down on themselves,” said Cooney.

Connor McManigal started the comeback in the fourth with the Dons’ first hit of the game. Skyler Sabado followed with a hit and Johnny Brontsema drew a walk to load the bases. Jeff Paschke lined out to center and McManigal tagged from third to break up the shutout. Day singled to score Sabado and Toby Minehan singled in Brontsema. After a catcher’s interference call re-loaded the bases, Ian True hit an infield single to drive in Day to make it a 6-4 game.

In the fifth, Brontsema and Paschke hit back-to-back singles and Minehan followed with a RBI double, pulling the Dons to within one, 6-5.

Junior Joel Johnson came up with clutch pitches to keep Westlake from scoring. He got a huge double play in the top of the seventh to end a threat.

In the bottom of the seventh, Brontsema hit a two-strike pitch to the right-field wall for a triple. Paschke lined a ball to right-center to drive in Brontsema, tying the score at 6-6. Day reached base on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a wild pitcher. Minehan hit a grounder to shortstop and the Warriors tried to get Day at third. But he beat the throw, putting runners at the corners.

That brought up Ghersen. Facing a two-strike count, he laid down a bunt and Day beat the throw to the plate, setting off a wild celebration.

“It was quite a game,” said Cooney.

After going hitless in the first three innings, the Dons finished with 12 hits and improved their record to 3-1-1.

Their next game is Thursday at St. Joseph.

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