Saturday, March 20: Broncos 10, Avenal 8 — After losing their previous two games by 20 runs to Mission Prep and by 12 runs to Nipomo, Coast Union was hungry to get back on the winning track at home against Avenal. Head baseball coach Brian Machado gave right-hander Garrett Le Millere his first start and the lanky junior gave up 5 runs going into the fourth inning.
Trailing 5-1, Coast Union came up with 2 runs in the fourth and 7 runs in the fifth to lead the Buccaneers 10-7. The Broncos tallied those runs behind the 2- for-4 hitting of Ryan Hampton, Jake Machado’s double in the bottom of the fifth, and some errant throws in the Buccaneers’ infield.
Senior Jaime Torres came on in relief of Le Millere in the sixth and the right hander got the save in a 10-8 ballgame, giving the Broncos a 2-4 record going into the game vs. North County Christian.
Tuesday, March 23: North County Christian 11, Broncos 10 — Coast Union went into the game against the Crusaders with a 2-4 record, hoping to get a win and move closer to the 500 mark. But walks killed their chances against the Crusaders. When was the last high school baseball game anyone has seen where there were a total of 27 walks?
The Coast Union pitchers walked 17 batters. The math is easy: at 90 feet per walk, Bronco pitchers ended up giving the Crusaders 1,530 free feet on the bases. That translated into enough runs for the visitors to win. Factor in the 10 walks that North County Christian issued to Coast Union players, and the number of free feet given to both teams (by errant pitching) on the baseline jumps to 2,430.
Bronco pitchers only gave up six hits, but when you walk 17 batters and hit a few as well, putting all those runners on base free of charge, you can’t expect to win a game. That said, the game was exiting as the lead changed hands six times. Trevor Cook started the game for the Broncos and was relieved by Jake Machado in the fifth inning.
The Broncos scored five runs in the fifth inning to take a 10-7 lead, but the Crusaders came right back — thanks to walks and hit batsmen and base hits with the bases full — to tie the game at 10-10. And in the top of the seventh the Crusaders clubbed two long hits off of Machado to take an 11-10 lead, which Coast Union could not match in their half of the seventh.
The Broncos travel to Laton on Friday, March 26, and return home to play Laton — traditionally a very tough sports program — on Friday, April 2.
— John FitzRandolph, special to The Cambrian