BB: DP wins league opener on Spiritosanto’s walk-off hit

Dos Pueblos starter Gabe Speier struck out 10, allowed two runs and two hits in a no decision.

Dos Pueblos starter Gabe Speier struck out 10, allowed two runs and two hits in a no decision.

If the first game is an indicator, Channel League baseball games will be going down to the last inning.

Dos Pueblos won the league opener in dramatic fashion on Thursday. Anthony Spiritosanto ripped a walk-off single to the leff-field fence with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Chargers a dramatic 3-2 win over Buena at Scott O?Leary Field.

A handful of scouts with radar guns were at Thursday's game to watch Speier pitch.

A handful of scouts with radar guns were at Thursday’s game to watch Speier pitch.

It was the league debut for DP coach Nick Katzenstein, whose team is now 5-3 on the season. Buena is 6-3, 0-1.

Spiritosanto?s crushing hit off Buena starter Charlie Brooks drove in Brody Curtis, who beat out a ball hit through the box with one out and advanced to second when Brian Cho?s bunt bounced high in the air and was mishandled by the Buena catcher. After Ben York flew out to right, Spiritosanto laced a pitch that was up in the strike zone.

?I was thinking he was going keep throwing off speed, but I saw my pitch and hit it and turned on it,? said Spiritosanto, who was mobbed by his teammates as he turned for second base as Curtis scored.

The clutch hit made a winner of Josh Tedeschi (3-0), who relieved starter Gabe Speier with two outs in the fifth inning.

?We never let down,? said Katzenstein. ?We had great hustle going down the line by Brody. That just got us going. You got to love being in games like that, especially in Channel League.?

The baseball scouts were out in force at DP to watch the left-handed Speier, who?s committed to UCSB. He didn?t disappoint them through 4.2 innings, striking out 10 and allowing two hits.

The Chargers gave him a 1-0 lead in the second. James Savage hammered a ball to the fence in right-center field for a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Luke Coffey.

But Speier lost control in the fifth and Buena capitalized, scoring two runs to take a 2-1 lead. The trouble started when Buena?s Jack Coupart reached base after striking out on a wild pitch. Will Walker followed with a single to left. Speier struck out Tony Fonzo but walked Ryan Coker to load the bases. He then hit Ramon Martinez with a pitch to force in Coupart for the tying run. He fell behind the count on Dylan Colman but regrouped and struck him out on a change-up for the second out of the inning.

By then, Speier had reached his pitch count and was lifted for Tedeschi.

?He was up in the high 80s,? Katzenstein said. ?He needed to be a little more efficient today. He got the ball up a little bit.?

A passed ball allowed Walker to score, putting Buena into the lead. Tedeschi struck out Bryson Wallet looking to end the inning.

The Chargers responded with the tying run in the bottom of the fifth. A fielder?s choice by Drake Gilliland, a walk to Curtis and an infield single by Cho loaded the bases for York. Showing great patience, the senior shortstop drew a walk to bring home pinch-runner Tyler Harris for the tying run.

That brought up Spiritosanto with a chance to break the game open. But Brooks came up big for the Bulldogs and got the strikeout.

The Buena righthander wouldn?t be so fortunate the next time he faced Spiritosanto in the seventh.

?I just tried to do what I needed to do to help the team out,? said Spiritosanto.

Said Katzenstein: ?He just stayed with it. The next at-bat, you never know what?s going to happen. This game of baseball, you just have to put the last at-bat away. He did a great job forgetting the last at-bat and got us the big W.?

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