PBB: Nisbet delivers under pressure, helps DP beat Dons, 3-2

The pressure was on, but Dos Pueblos sophomore Colter Nisbet wasn’t feeling it as he stepped up to the plate with his team trailing crosstown rival Santa Barbara 2-1 in the sixth inning.

With runners at first and second and one out, Nisbet coolly laced a double down the third-base line to score pinch runner Jonathan Sloan for the tying run. Luke Coffey scored the game winner on Nick Noggle’s chopper to the right side, and Dos Pueblos pulled out a dramatic 3-2 victory on Friday at Scott O’Leary Field.

The result leaves the Chargers and Dons tied at 5-3 in the Channel League. Buena leads the league with a 5-2 record. DP plays the Bulldogs twice next week. Santa Barbara plays 3-3 Ventura.

Nisbet was called up to the varsity on Thursday.

“I just knew I had to come up here and do my job,” he said. “Luckily I was able to. I was a little bit nervous but not to bad. It was fun.”

Said DP coach Nick Katzenstein: “He came up big for us right there.”

In addition to his game-tying double, Nisbet played a key role in DP’s first run in the second inning. He executed a sacrifice bunt that allowed Luke Coffey to move to second. Coffey scored on a single by Jessie Speier.

On his sixth-inning double, Nisbet said it was a hit-and-run play “and I knew those guys were running and I had to do my job. I saw a curveball coming and i just swung and a great thing happened. I watched it go down the line and once I saw it go over the bag, I just put my head down and started running. I got to second and the dugout erupted.”

Katzenstein called up Nisbet to provide the varsity with some much-needed hitting.

“We’ve been struggling with our bats and he’s been hitting well at the lower level,” Katzenstein said. “I communicate well with the coaches down there, and I said: ‘Alright, who is the next guy that is ready?’”

The coach was delighted to see the youngster perform.

“He played the game right. Early in the game we asked him to sacrifice and he got the sacrifice bunt down and we ended up scoring on that,” Katzenstein said. “You do the right things early in the game and you take care of your teammates, when you’re asked to sacrifice and you get the sacrifice down and then when you have the opportunity when you have runners in scoring position you can swing the bat, the baseball gods are going to look down on you.

“He had a good approach, he got ahead in the count and got a pitch he could drive down the third-base line.”

DP starter Darby Naughton and Santa Barbara’s Trevor Moropoulos engaged in a pitching duel until the sixth inning.

“We just scratch for runs,” Santa Barbara coach Fred Warrecker lamented. “It’s so tough on the pitchers because they can never relax. I thought Trevor was outstanding today. He threw his breaking ball for his strike. I think it was his best outing of the year.”

Moropoulos went the distance and allowed five hits, while striking out four. He got great defensive help from center fielder Dalton Schroeder in the fourth inning. Schroeder made a spectacular running catch of a drive to right-center by Coffey.

“That was as good a catch as you can see,” said Fred Warrecker.

Naughton allowed two hits through five innings. One Dons baserunner reached third via a bad pickoff attempt in the third but Naughton got the next batter to pop out to the shortstop to end the inning.

The Dons offense came alive in the sixth. Bryce Morison ripped a double to the fence in left field and Daniel McKinney followed with a double down the left-field line to score Morison and tie the game at 1-1. John Jensen hit a hard grounder to first that DP’s Speier barehanded, juggled and flipped to Naughton for the first out.

Katzenstein brought in reliever Peter Appel and he hit Carter Soto with a pitch before Moropoulos ripped a one-hopper to Speier at first. Speier threw home, but a sliding McKinney knocked the ball out of catcher Nick Noggle’s glove, and the Dons took a 2-1 lead.

“The baserunner did an excellent job,” said Katzenstein. “He did what he was supposed to do. He’s dead out right there; he’s got to go in hard and slide, and he put the foot in the glove. Unfortunately, Nick wasn’t able to hang on to that ball otherwise it’s another different story to that game.”

Appel retired the next two batters to end the inning.

DP struck back in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Dustin Demeter reached base on an infield hit and pinch runner Sloan stole second; Coffey drew a walk and Nisbet hit his run-scoring double over the third base bag. Coffey scored the game-winner on Nikc Noggle’s chopper to the right side.

“We stayed positive,” Nisbet said of the mood in the dugout after the Dons took the lead. “We weren’t going to let that get to us. We tried to keep the energy up and stay loose. We knew one run was no big deal.”

Austin Bull closed the door on the Dons in the seventh.

Santa Barbara…000 002 0 — 2 5 2
Dos Pueblos…010 002 x — 3 5 3

Moropoulos and Keithly; Naughton, Appel (5), Bull (7) and N. Noggle. W—Appel. L—Moropoulos.
2B—SB: Morison, McKinney. DP: Nisbet