Sports

SLO Blues come together quickly, dominate Santa Maria Packers on opening night

ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

Most baseball teams have a long run up to the regular season, filled with camps and drills to build team chemistry. Not the San Luis Obispo Blues.

With players from across the nation, some arriving yesterday and some of whom have yet to join the team, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that the California Collegiate League team would have no chemistry at all in its season opener.

That assumption would be wrong.

The Blues opened the season in front of a large crowd at Sinsheimer Stadium with a 12-0 victory over the visiting Santa Maria Packers, exhibiting no hiccups due to chemistry issues.

“These guys just came together in the last few days,” second-year coach Jamie Clark said. “The team chemistry that we have, was the best that I’ve ever seen since I’ve been coaching baseball in the last 20 years.

“It was unbelievable.”

How it happened

The Blues scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning on a single, two walks, a hit batsman and a two-run single. San Luis Obispo took a 5-0 lead in the third on a two-out RBI double by second-year player Jimmy Brakka. Jose Tejada tripled in the fourth to bring in a run, followed by a Harley Faye RBI single. Brakka then hit a sacrifice fly to push the score to 9-0.

Back-to-back doubles in the sixth by Wyatt Hogan and RJ Hassey made it 10-0. Holden Morris then hit an RBI-triple to ensure everyone in the lineup had a hit for the Blues. Former Cuesta first baseman Robbie Silva had a sacrifice fly in the seventh for the final run of the evening.

Who stood out

Hassey, a former Cuesta catcher in his third year with the Blues, was 3 for 5 with a double and three RBI, and Wyatt Hogan was 2 for 4 with an RBI double. Brakka was 1 for 2 with a pair of RBI. The Blues had 12 hits as team.

Former Cuesta closer Dan Beavers looked electric on the mound for the Blues, recording four strikeouts in six batters faced.

“(Beavers) was dominant,” Clark said. “That guy brings a mentality with him to the mound with him, that I’m going to bring my best pitches and if you hit them, you win.”

Clark also said Beavers has been flexible about when he enters games after closing all year for Cuesta. Clark was happy with what he saw out of his pitchers. Starter Jack Hartman pitched two innings, Beavers went two innings, former Cuesta pitcher Jake Niezen went three, and current UCLA pitcher Matt Walker threw the final inning.

“Niezen came in and did a very solid job,” Clark said.

Clark added that Niezen has changed him arm slot in the past year and has added 7-8 mph to his pitches.

Arroyo Grande High School was represented by three former players on the Santa Maria side, catcher Nash Ackerman, third baseman Ryan Texeira and outfielder Nolan Elias.

Up next

The Blues (1-0) will continue the series on Saturday with the first pitch at 6 p.m.

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