CBB: Vaqueros get job done, capture share of WSC North title

Sean Barry threw seven strong innings on Friday afternoon, and SBCC’s offense scored three runs on just six hits to claim a share of the WSC North baseball title with a 3-1 win at Hancock.

The Vaqueros, ranked No. 4 in Southern Cal, tied Oxnard for first at 17-7. Santa Barbara won its fourth in a row to complete the regular season at 28-8, the second-most wins in school history.

SBCC and Oxnard split their four-game series 2-2, so the No. 1 seed from the conference for next week’s Southern Cal Regional will be determined by RPI rankings. Cuesta finished third at 15-9.

It was the fifth WSC title in SBCC baseball history and third in the last five years. Jeff Walker, in his fourth season, became the first Vaquero baseball coach with two conference titles.

SBCC has won six conference crowns this academic year with the two male championships coming on Friday from the baseball team and men’s track.

Barry (8-3) held the Bulldogs to one run on five hits in seven innings. He struck out eight, walked one and hit a pair of batters. Steven Ledesma pitched the eighth and Davis Messer handled the ninth for his second save, getting a pair of groundouts to end the game.

“We won our last four and finished the regular season on a high note with the conference championship,” said Walker. “We got great pitching and solid defense today.”

Connor McManigal and Noeh Martinez both went 2-4. Cameron Jones got the Vaqueros started with a triple to open the game, then scored on Matt Henderson’s groundout. The visitors stretched the lead to 3-0 in the fourth on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Gagain that scored James Hill and a throwing error by the catcher that allowed McManigal to score from third. McManigal and Martinez both singled in the inning.

The Vaqueros will play in the Southern Cal Regional for the fifth straight year. They had their highest finish ever last season when they tied for fifth in the state.

SBCC will find out its Regional opponent for the opening best-of-3 series on Sunday. The first playoff game will be played on Friday, May 1.