The Coast Union baseball team opened the playoffs by shutting out the visiting Santa Clarita International Stars 12-0 on Friday, May 20, at home, but fell 7-5 on the road in the second round.
In the opener, sophomore pitcher Chase Volz went six innings for Coast, striking out two, walking four, and giving up three hits in the CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoff victory. Sophomore Riley Kennedy pitched the seventh inning for the Broncos.
Sophomore Edgar Nunez had a pair of hits in three trips to the plate, Junior Jack MacKinnon had two hits and knocked in five runs, and senior Lane Sutherland went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored in the victory.
Machado was pleased that Volz managed to wriggle out of situations. “They left a lot of guys on base. They just needed a hit in one of those innings and they would have been back in the game,” he said, but Volz was able to get the final out without any runs scoring.
The Broncos (9-11 overall, 6-0 in the Coast Valley League) traveled south to play the Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals on Tuesday, May 24, falling 7-5 to the Cardinals.
The Broncos jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning thanks to Kennedy’s two-run single, hit batsmen, and walks. They led 4-3 going into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Cardinals tallied four runs to lead Coast 7-4.
In top of the seventh, the Broncos mustered a rally to score one, and had two runners on base with one out when Volz hit a soft fly ball to the first baseman. The runner on first had left base on contact but couldn’t get back to the bag in time and was the victim of a game and season-ending double play.
The Cardinals were 12-5 overall during the season. Last year, the Cardinals made it to the CIF Southern Section Division 7 championship game before losing. were 10-0 in the Heritage League, three games ahead of second-place Faith Baptist (7-3).
Tuesday’s game was played on artificial turf at the college, and Broncos coach Brian Machado said his team has never played on anything but natural turf.
“The ball’s going to roll faster, and Santa Clarita Christian has played on the field before but they don’t play there all the time,” Machado said before the game.
The coach said the pressure is all on the Cardinals, not the Broncos, because Santa Clarita Christian “tasted the finals and they want to get back there. We’re just happy to be there. We’re the Cinderella team.”
Assistant coach Steve Kniffen said Volz and Sutherland have given the team “everything we expected,” and Kennedy “has been doing well in the leadoff spot.”
Kniffen said before the game he was happy to be playing in Santa Clarita, rather than deeper into the Los Angeles megalopolis. And he’s pleased that the “younger guys get this experience,” which will bode well for them next season.
Special to The Cambrian.