When North County Indians coach Dan Marple started recruiting players for his summer collegiate baseball team, he focused on finding local talent in addition to some incoming Cal Poly players.
His efforts have reaped dividends, and Tuesday was a good example as the Indians won 8-2 over the Santa Maria Reds to improve to 19-8.
Players who helped the Indians to the victory included Mac Stuart, a Paso Robles High graduate and Cuesta College player who went
2 for 4 with a home run and two RBI, and Tyler Kollmann, a Templeton graduate and Cuesta player, who also went 2 for 4 with a two-run double as part of a five-run sixth inning.
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“I didn’t feel like there was a lot of opportunity before for local kids to play baseball around here, not only in the North County, but San Luis and A.G.,” Marple said. “My approach was to find and recruit them. This is a great bunch of local kids.”
The winning pitcher Tuesday was Bryan Kirkpatrick, an Atascadero High standout as a senior this past season, who gave up two earned runs in five innings.
He was relieved by Cuesta’s Evan Peterson and San Luis Obispo grad Louie Carlos, who combined for four scoreless innings.
“This was (Kirkpatrick’s) first start of the year,” Marple said. “He may have had a little nerves in the first two and elevated the ball a little bit. When he pitched down, he was much more effective in the third, fourth and fifth.”
Marple noted that Kirkpatrick isn’t big, but throws hard and the coaches have been working with him on establishing his mound presence and his demeanor to show his poise on the hill.
Kirkpatrick worked out of a jam with runners on first and third in the third and the fifth innings, including an inning-ending double play in the third.
The Indians didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning, but it was a big one.
After shortstop Alec Smith was hit by a pitch to get on base, Stuart launched a belt-high fastball over the right-center field wall to tie the score at 2.
“It was a 2-0 count and the pitch was right down the middle,” Stuart said. “I was looking fastball and made good contact on it.”
Stuart, who started at third base, was in the middle of the big sixth inning with another well-hit ball to right that went a ground-rule double to jumpstart a rally.
“We had a hit and run on, and I was trying to hit it to the right side in the hole where the second baseman is,” Stuart said. “It was an inside pitch and I was able to drive it, but it got up.”
Stuart said the Indians have had slow starts at the plate this summer, like in Tuesday’s game, but they’ve found a way to rally for wins.
San Luis Obispo grad Sinjin Todd was part of the run production after being hit by a pitch, stealing second, and then scoring on a Kevin Morgan single in the fifth to put the Indians ahead 3-2. Todd was 1 for 2 with an RBI double and two runs.
Kollmann’s ground ball down the line with runners on second and third in the sixth gave the Indians a 5-2 lead. North County scored three more runs in the inning to help put the game away.
“They brought it a new guy, and I was the first guy to face him,” Kollmann said. “It was a low, inside fastball. He didn’t throw as hard as their starter. It’s nice really just to be out here facing live pitching since I redshirted last year at Cuesta.”
Santa Barbara Foresters 6, SLO Blues 2
The Blues (29-11, 14-9 California Collegiate League) scored two runs in the top of the first inning, but that was all the offense they could muster in dropping their fourth straight to the Foresters.
Aaron Attaway hit a run-scoring single for San Luis Obispo in the top of the first inning and later scored on a balk to give the Blues, who have lost three straight overall, an early 2-0 lead.
But Santa Barbara (24-9, 13-9) answered in the bottom of the first with four runs thanks to two walks, a hit batter, a Ryan Johnson RBI double and a Louie Lechich RBI single.
The Foresters tacked on two runs in the bottom of the second on a Ryan O’Hearn homer, and neither team scored again.
Santa Barbara starting pitcher Keaton Siomkin went seven innings to earn the win, allowing seven hits, striking out nine and walking none.
Attaway, Michael Pritchard and Will Maddox all had two hits for San Luis Obispo.
Johnson was 3 for 4, and O’Hearn was 2 for 3 for the Foresters.
Tribune staff contributed to this report.