The San Luis Obispo Blues dropped a 9-7 decision to the San Luis Obispo Rattlers on Friday at SLO Stadium in a summer collegiate baseball game, but with the Santa Barbara Foresters losing to Team Vegas 3-0, the Blues gained ground in the California Collegiate League title race.
The Blues are tied with the Foresters atop the league. The race still remains in the Foresters’ hands, though — Santa Barbara needs to win both of their final two games against Team Vegas to clinch sole possession of the CCL Championship, and one to clinch a co-share with the Blues.
“I just talked to the Vegas coach and they said they’re excited and they want to play the spoiler roll,” Blues manager Chal Fanning said. “For us, we just need to finish strong.”
At stake is a potential berth to the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan. The Foresters have already clinched a berth by winning the Rawlings California Cup earlier this month. The winner of the CCL would also get an automatic berth.
After the Blues took a 1-0 lead in the first, the Rattlers answered with two runs in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead.
Sal Belfonte’s home run to left in the fifth tied the game at 2, but the Rattlers then broke the game open with four runs in the sixth to take a 6-2 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Austin Flores brought home a run with a sacrifice fly to bring the Blues to within three runs, but the Rattlers added a run in the eighth and two in the ninth to make it 9-4.
The Blues made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth.
Brandon Champagne scored on a throwing error and former Paso Robles High standout Thomas Bernal brought in two more with a single down the right-field line to cut the deficit to two runs.
But with the bases loaded, current Cuesta College second baseman and former Mission Prep Standout Alex Detz struck out swinging to end the game.