Holguin’s walkoff single helps SBCC overcome big early deficit to Hancock
An ugly start gave away to another exotically beautiful finish for SBCC, which rallied for its second-straight, last-inning baseball victory over Hancock on Thursday.
Tommy Holguin’s bases-loaded single with one out capped a three-run uprising in the ninth inning in the Vaqueros’ 6-5, walk-off win at Pershing Park.
“We just stayed together,” said Holguin, a freshman third baseman from Santa Barbara High. “We always talk about ‘us,’ and us as a team sticking together, and fighting.”
SBCC (14-11, 7-7 Western State Conference), which beat Hancock (14-16, 6-8) with two runs in the 10th inning in Santa Maria on Tuesday, remained two games behind first-place Cuesta and Ventura with six remaining in the league race.
“We’ve got some good momentum going in for Cuesta on Saturday,” Holguin said, noting a two-game series that begins in San Luis Obispo and returns to Pershing Park on Tuesday.
SBCC’s title hopes dimmed after three errors, three hit batters, a walk and three wild pitches saddled it with a 5-0 deficit after three innings on Thursday.
Jake McBride, normally a relief pitcher, got a two-inning start for the Vaqueros against his former Dos Pueblos High teammate, Hancock right-hander Dylan Kelley.
“We’ve tried to mix things up,” SBCC coach Jeff Walker said. “We’ve struggled in the later innings with our bullpen, so we’ve started the last two games with essentially bullpen guys, and then brought our starters in after that (to finish).”
McBride needed a pair of strikeouts to escape a bases-loaded situation in the first inning after Travis Welker had scored on a wild pitch.
He retired the last three batters in the second after Mike McLean’s leadoff single, and then turned the ball over to the usual starter, Jack Aldrich, for the rest of the game.
“It’s tough to battle through adversity, and that’s something we did numerous times today,” Aldrich said. “It started with McBride in that first inning, doing that damage control.”
Aldrich faced his own adversity after giving up four runs – two unearned – during a third inning that was marred by three errors, a hit batter, a walk, and three hits. They included Reed Odland’s slow-rolling, infield single on a play that Holguin thought he should have made.
“I know Jack is a perfectionist, so we just kind of told him that we’d get it together and win this game for him,” Holguin said.
Jake Shusterich, who delivered the biggest blow of the inning with an RBI double, and Odland led the Bulldogs with two hits apiece.
Aldrich, a freshman left-hander, allowed Hancock just four more hits and no more runs in the final six innings. He recorded 10 of his 21 outs by strike out.
“I kind of knew that once we got our feet in the water and got ready in those deeper innings, we’d be cruising,” Aldrich said. “I was OK with our guys making some mistakes early on because, as you can see, they made it count in innings seven, eight, and nine.”
Kelley, who allowed six hits and three runs in six-plus innings, made it tough on them for a while. He was working on a shutout until Logan Pollack’s two-out single scored Nicholas Trifiletti in the fifth.
Trifiletti then chased Kelley with no outs in the seventh by belting a two-run home run over the left-field fence – his second of the season.
“Trifiletti excited us with a two-run bomb … It kind of woke us up a bit,” Walker said.
The Vaqueros, who beat Hancock closer Ismael Hernandez with Tuesday’s extra-inning rally, faced him again in the ninth while still training 5-3.
“He’s thrown against us, I think, all four games – so it wasn’t anything different or unfamiliar,” Walker said.
Jacob Bravo led off the inning by beating out an infield single. He then raced around to score when Prainito followed with a double to left.
Trifiletti was hit by a pitch and, one out later, Pollack rapped his second single of the game to score Prainito with the tying run. Prainito and Pat Caulfield also had two hits in the game.
Hancock walked Josh Perlmutter intentionally to load the bases, setting the stage for Holguin.
“I kind of took it to heart – they thought I was an easy out, or what-not,” Holguin said. “I just put a pretty good swing on the ball.”
Hernandez had struck out Holguin during Tuesday’s wild 10th inning after a 10-pitch battle. This time, Holguin settled the matter on Hernandez’s second offering, launching a hit into the gap in right-centerfield to score Trifiletti – and touch off a wild celebration in the middle of the diamond.
“We’re even now, I guess,” Holguin said with a smile.
The 7-7 Vaqueros are now looking to get better than even this weekend in the wild Western State Conference race.
“We’re certainly going to do our best to ride the high but not rely on the high,” Aldrich said. “We’re going to use this momentum to keep reminding ourselves that we just need to survive and then get to the next one.”