Coast Union’s baseball teams have reeled off 31 straight wins in the Coast Valley League since their last defeat, April 24, 2012 — a 12-2 setback at the hands of Valley Christian Academy.
It’s a much different win-loss story for Coast against nonleague teams this season. After clobbering undermanned CVL opponent Shandon 12-2 on Friday May 8, improving to 8-0 in league play, the next day the Broncos entertained a tougher opponent — the Dunn School Earwigs from the Santa Inez Valley — and bowed 7-4.
With Saturday’s loss to the Earwigs, the Broncos’ record against nonleague teams in 2015 slipped to 2-9, which on the face of it doesn’t bode well for Coast in postseason play. In fairness, several of those nonleague losses have come against schools that have five or six times the enrollment of Coast Union.
Against the Shandon Outlaws, Coast banged out 14 hits, including three doubles. On the mound, sophomore Jack MacKinnon and freshman Chase Volz combined to allow just two hits, striking out seven Outlaws along the way. Jake McAvoy and Marcus Godfrey each had two hits for Coast.
On Saturday against the Earwigs, senior pitcher McAvoy delivered 103 pitches, scattering a dozen hits and striking out six. Notably, only three runs scored against McAvoy were earned; the other four came via miscues on the part of his defense.
Errors in judgment and fielding errors cost McAvoy and the Broncos, and those lapses on defense can, for the most part, be chalked up to inexperience and to younger players, some of whom are playing varsity baseball for the first time.
Coach Brian Machado said, “Yes, inexperience is what it was on Saturday, but the only way you get experience is to go out and play. You can’t create real game condition in practice. You just can’t create that. The intensity in practice just isn’t the same.”
One thing Machado plans to do going into the CIF playoffs beginning next week is move junior power hitter Lane Sutherland to the leadoff position and senior outfielder Binh Trieu down to the No. 9 slot in the lineup.
Trieu, the fastest player on the team (in his first year playing baseball), has struggled to perfect the art of bunting — putting the ball in the right location so his blazing speed can turn a bunt into an infield hit.
Machado watched the Earwigs’ hitters lay down bunt after bunt in perfect locations. In fact, Dunn School put on a textbook exhibition on the proper way to bunt.
“That was the difference in the game,” Machado said in a phone interview Monday. “They were bunting for base hits down the third-base line, and we were bunting them back to the pitcher. They executed — they’re a solid team.
“Yes I’m disappointed,” he continued, and made it clear he is frustrated with players taking called third strikes, which several Broncos did Saturday.
“We harp on them all the time. Swing the bat, swing the bat, but again, it’s a matter of inexperience. Players haven’t been in that situation enough to have the confidence they need to swing at a two-strike pitch.” The Broncos traveled to Cuyama Valley on Tuesday May 12, and prevailed 11-1, led by three singles and four RBI from McAvoy and three singles and three RBI from Jack MacKinnon. Lane Sutherland pitched a complete game, striking out eight; he also doubled.
The Cambria Giants Little League squad fell to the Los Osos Cubs on Saturday, May 9, by a 14-6 score. Coach Matt Saunders said pitcher Chase Hayden kept it close through the third inning, when the Giants were only down by a 7-6 score.
But the Cubs came back with seven runs to finish off Cambria’s Giants.
On Tuesday, May 12, the Cambria Reds hosted the Morro Bay Brewers and fell 19-5. Coach Gary Stephenson said Emany Plasencia pitched effectively, David Amodei cleared the bases with a triple, Zach Stephenson drove in a run and Braiden Beauchaine made “a great running catch” for the Reds in the outfield.
The Reds play the Los Osos Yankees on Saturday, May 16.