CBB: Brakka belts another walk-off for SBCC

SBCC catcher James Hill was 3-for-6 on Thursday.

SBCC catcher James Hill was 3-for-6 on Thursday.

 

James Brakka is getting pretty comfortable in the role of walk-off hero.

SBCC’s sophomore first baseman delivered a walk-off single down the first-base line to score Connor McManigal on Thursday night and give the hometown Vaqueros a stirring 6-5 come-from-behind win over Glendale at Pershing Park.

The nonconference baseball game started at 2 p.m. and finished under the lights at 6:18.

Catcher James Hill led the Vaqueros’ 12-hit offense by going 3-6 with an RBI. Brakka, McManigal and Spencer Erdman had two hits apiece.

Brakka was also responsible for the walk-off error that gave the Vaqueros a dramatic 4-3 win over Napa in their previous game. Brakka produced his game-winning hit on Thursday with one out and runners on second and third.

“We just have to keep going to work and win every inning,” said Brakka. “I thought they were going to walk me. Then I saw the first pitch and I thought, ‘OK they’re not going to walk me.’ You’re up there to hit. I didn’t get all of it but I got enough of it to get it through.”

Santa Barbara overcame an early 2-0 deficit and took a 4-2 lead in the seventh when Erdman walked, went to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a flyout and scored on a double steal with Matt Henderson. Henderson reached after getting hit on the foot, then strolled off first to draw a throw with two outs. The pitcher threw to the first baseman, who fired to second just as Erdman was breaking for home. Both runners were safe.

“It was a mentality thing,” said coach Jeff Walker. “Our goal is always to touch home one more time than the opponent. It took a little longer than the average nine innings. They jumped out early and got momentum on their side but our guys fought through and got the momentum back. They’re a formidable opponent and this is a good team win.”

Justin Bruce went the first seven innings for No. 4 Santa Barbara (4-0), allowing four runs (three earned) on three hits. Two of those were home runs to right field – a solo shot by Raul Camas in the fourth and a two-run blast by No. 9 hitter Randy Medellin that tied it at 4 in the eighth. Bruce was replaced by Jake Keily after the second homer.

Glendale is 0-5 but they’ve faced three teams ranked in the top 17 in Southern Cal.

Four Vaquero pitchers held Glendale, the 17th-ranked team in Southern Cal who also uses the nickname Vaqueros, to just four hits. Kit Larson pitched the 9th, 10th and 11th innings and allowed the go-ahead run to score in the 11th.

With one out, Bryan Faucher singled to left and Grant Thompson ran for him. Larson threw an errant pickoff throw to first, allowing Thompson to take second. He went to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch, giving Glendale a 5-4 lead.

SBCC tied it in the bottom of the 11th when Brandon Evans singled with one out and stole second. Dallas Bacon was hit by a pitch from sidearm reliever Andy Frakes and Cameron Jones ran for Bacon. Derek Rustich was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Evans scored on a fielder’s choice by pinch-hitter Payton Milone to make it 5-5.

Erdman and Henderson combined for three hits, three runs and three stolen bases.

“Spencer and Henderson are very dynamic in that 1-2 spot, they can do several different things,” said Walker. “They can hit, they can run, they can bunt and they play outstanding defense.

“Pitching and defense is what we’re going to hang our hat on. We made a few mistakes against the game today. It’s good to have these kind of games against this kind of opponent early.”

The Vaqueros travel to Mission Viejo to take on No. 12 Saddleback (4-0) in a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 and 4 p.m.

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