The Broncos polished off the winless Maricopa Indians 15-0 on Thursday, May 1, banging out 20 hits, to increase their Coast Valley League record to 7-0 (Valley Christian Academy is in second place, 6-1).
Junior hurler Jake McAvoy gave up just two hits and struck out nine in going the five innings for the win.
On Friday, May 2, the Broncos traveled to Elk’s Field in Santa Maria to play Orcutt Academy, a team Coast Union shut out 3-0 back on March 20. And despite giving up 13 hits — and using 113 pitches — senior starting pitcher Grant Magnuson got his fifth win against two losses.
Magnuson struck out seven and only walked one batter and improved his ERA to 1.93. “He was throwing as hard in the seventh as he was in the first inning,” said assistant coach Steve Kniffen.
The Broncos actually won the game on a balk. Trailing 3-2 in the sixth, Quinten Raethke singled, stole second and moved to third on Tommy Howard’s base hit. McAvoy, hitting .324, singled to drive in Raethke with the tying run, and Howard moved to third. At that point the Spartans pitcher committed a balk, and Howard trotted home with what turned out to be the deciding run.
Teams win games by getting clutch hits but also by getting breaks, like the balk in this game. The Broncos won, notwithstanding giving up 13 hits, when they play outstanding defense, and that was the case against the Spartans.
Coast Union Head Coach Brian Machado said, “I don’t have a problem with our pitcher giving up 13 hits when we get the great defense and don’t walk a bunch of guys.”
Speaking of defense, right fielder Sergio Mendoza made a fine play on a long fly ball in the bottom of the seventh. With a runner on first and two outs and Coast Union up, 4-3, Mendoza made a “great catch, definitely,” said Machado. “That ball gets by him, a run scores and the game is tied,” the coach recalled.
Earlier in the game, with a Spartan runner on third, shortstop Emmany Godinez made a diving catch to his left that. “If that ball goes up the middle they would have scored a run,” Machado explained.
Godinez, hitting an even .500, had a hit and an RBI against the Spartans, and leads the team with 18 stolen bases (out of 20 attempts). With two hits against the Spartans Raethke raised his batting average to .491; he has a team-leading 26 runs batted in.
Coming into this week, Gehrig Kniffen leads the team with a .579 average; he collected two hits against Orcutt and now has 20 RBI and six doubles. Zander Stoothoff drove in a run with a hit against Orcutt and has 10 RBI on the season.
Howard is hitting at a .429 clip with 13 RBI; Lane Sutherland is batting .417 with 11 RBI; and Magnuson is hitting .441 with 11 RBI.
On Tuesday, May 7, Coast Union traveled to Shandon to play the Outlaws and shut out Shandon 16-0. Howard went two-for-two with a home run; Godinez knocked in three runs; Stoothoff was two-for-two and McAvoy pitched a one-hitter for the win.
Coast Union entertains Cuyama Valley at 3:30 p.m. Friday, May 9; the game is broadcast on KTEA-FM (103.5) and streams on www.ktea-fm.com.
Email John FitzRandolph at email@example.com.