PBB: Buena makes DP pay for missed chances, 9-0

VENTURA — Dos Pueblos missed opportunities to go up early against Buena in Wednesday’s baseball game for the Channel League title. And the Chargers paid for it.

While DP came up empty, Buena tallied single runs in the third and fourth innings and broke the game open with seven runs in the sixth win 9-0 on a 100-degree day in Ventura.

The victory secures the title for the Bulldogs with a 9-3 record.

Dos Pueblos is 8-3 with a remaining game on Thursday at home against Ventura. The Chargers can gain a share of their third straight league championship with a win over the Cougars. Buena, however, would be the league’s No. 1 team for the CIF Division 2 playoffs, having swept the season series against DP.

“This is a dream come true,” said Buena senior third baseman Tony Fonzo, who broke a scoreless tie with a booming ground-rule double to center in the third inning. He also had a RBI single in the big sixth inning. “All the seniors, we’ve been playing since were were 5 years old, and it’s a great feeling.”

On his double, Fonzo admitted he chased a bad ball.

“It was a high pitch and I wasn’t supposed to swing at that,” he said. “But I got on top of it. I was just happy it went over (the center fielder’s) head and bounced over. I thought it was right at him and it kept going and going.”

Fonzo’s booming double came after DP stranded two runners in the first inning. The Chargers left the bases loaded in the fourth and Buena responded with its second run. Addison Pelupessy singled to left and advanced to third on a two-base error. With two outs, Josh Piscotti singled to score Pelupessy.

“Our hitters were a little undisciplined and chased a lot of pitches out of the zone,” DP coach Nick Katzenstein said of the missed scoring opportunities. “That really cost us. Any time we got runners on and runners in scoring position it was because of walks, and those guys were disciplined.

“All of a sudden you get a couple of guys on base and you get excited and want to hit and drive in those runs. And (the hitters) start chasing pitches,” he continued. “We just couldn’t layoff the high fastball today. If they would have, we could have scored a few runs early that would have put the pressure on those guys. We just didn’t execute.”

Buena’s trio of pitchers — Austin Rubick, Sawyer Hamilton and Charlie Brooks — allowed only one hit, a single to right by Michael Boelter in the third inning. The Chargers were recipients of five walks and one hitter batter — catcher Nick Noggle was struck in the head by a Rubick pitch. He came out for a pinch runner but returned to finish the game.

DP starter Daniel Buratto allowed two runs on seven hits, walked three and hit a batter in five innings.

“Daniel pitched well for us and kept us in the game and limited the damage,” Katzenstein said.

Buratto also got some big plays from his defense. In the first inning, third baseman Luke Coffey took a relay throw from left field and fired a one-hopper to Nick Noggle at the plate. The catcher brilliantly scooped the throw and tagged out Spencer Yates, who as trying to score on a single by Fonzo.

Noggle also gunned out a runner at third after a Buratto strikeout for an inning-ending double play in the third.

But the Chargers could make the big plays offense, and Buena blew the game open sixth, scoring seven runs on four hits, two errors, two hit batters and four walks. Zane Chittenden had the big blow, a three-run double off reliever Erik Olson.

“The story of the game for us was not being disciplined at the plate to score runs,” Katzenstein said. “Late in the game, the door just opened for them. They hit the ball well at the end.”