San Luis Obispo Blues third baseman Jimmy Allen showed Wednesday why the Boston Red Sox were interested in him in this year’s Major League Baseball draft, selecting him in the 23rd round.
He also displayed the type of bat that Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee will love to have back next season as Allen has chosen to return to the Mustangs.
Allen went 3 for 4, crushing a double that was as hard as any in a crucial game for the Blues, who lost 4-1 to the Santa Barbara Foresters on Wednesday in a summer collegiate baseball game.
The Blues (36-16, 20-14 California Collegiate League) entered the game tied with the Foresters for the North Division lead.
The teams play again tonight in the finale of the three-game series at 6 at SLO Stadium.
The Blues will likely have to win tonight and then again Friday against the Conejo Oaks at home for a chance at a league title.
The Foresters also have two games left and a one-game lead in the CCL North.
Allen was one of only three Blues to record a hit against the Foresters (32-13, 21-14) on Wednesday.
“I was just looking for good pitches to hit,” Allen said. “I really wasn’t worried about my mechanics. I was just looking fastball and trying to be patient.”
Allen said that he’s thrilled to be coming back to the Mustangs, where he hopes to win the Big West Conference as a senior and have a great year with the team.
“I’m really not thinking beyond that too much,” Allen said. “The draft will take care of itself.”
Allen also made some nice defensive plays, charging a couple of dribblers and gunning runners down at first. Defense is a point of pride for Lee, and Allen said that he’s worked hard to improve his.
On Tuesday, the Blues won the first game of the series 6-1.
The winner of the league’s North Division will face the winner of the league’s South Division, which has been clinched by the Los Angeles Brewers, in a weekend championship series.
The second-place teams in each of the divisions will face each other as well.
The Blues started Corey Ray, a 6-foot-4 righty from Texas A&M on the mound Wednesday.
Ray entered the game 4-0 and displayed an overpowering fastball early in counts that Santa Barbara hitters had trouble catching up to before going to his out pitch, a low breaking ball.
The contest started out much like Tuesday’s battle, with both starting pitchers quieting the bats. But the Foresters strung together several hits for three runs in the fifth after scoring a run in the fourth.
“I think that he got a couple of pitches too far over the middle,” Blues coach Chal Fanning said. “He was throwing well. Those are just the mistakes you can’t make.”
The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth when Santa Barbara’s Ryan O’Hearn doubled, and right fielder Austin Darby caught up to a Ray fastball, singling O’Hearn in on a soft liner over the head of Blues shortstop Aaron Attaway for a 1-0 lead.
O’Hearn stroked another Ray fastball to drive in a run for a 2-0 Foresters lead in the fifth, and Shane Hoelscher and Joey Swanner added RBI singles in the inning as well for a 4-0 advantage.
Allen has been struggling of late at the plate. But he looked strong Wednesday, including the well-struck double to left-center in the fourth that sailed deep into the gap.
Andrew Lee had the lone RBI single for the Blues in the ninth.
“I think we’ll just have to come back (today) and forget about (this game),” Allen said. “(Today) is a new day.”