One would think that Ventura's 10-0 lead over visiting College of the Canyons after the second inning would have been a safe one. However, anything is possible in JC baseball, and it happened on Saturday afternoon at Pirate Park. CoC came back with an 11-run third inning, and led 15-11 in the middle of the fifth before VC came back to post a 20-17 victory over the Cougars. Gabe Baldovino had two home runs in his four-hit day with four runs batted in and three runs scored to lead the onslaught for Ventura (5-5).
The Pirates had three straight singles by Tommy Gibbons-Matsuyama, Baldovino and Omar Gastelum to start the game. Those hist score one run, and sacrifice flies by Riley Langerman and Jacob Martinez put Ventura ahead 3-0.
VC scored five runs in the second inning with no outs, and followed up with two more before the side was retired. Walks by Anthony Chavez and Mitchell Mashiko were followed by a double-steal and a two-RBI single by Gibbons-Matsuyama. Baldovino then cleared the bases with a two-run dinger. Gastelum drew a base on balls and Langerman singled before Martinez reached on an error to score one. One out later, Alejandro Soto singled in a run, then Martinez scored when Chavez reached base on a fielder's choice.
The Cougars battled back sending 15 batters to the plate, unfortunately, the Pirates could have been out of the inning with little damage, but an error extended the at-bat. Canyons plated 11 runs in the frame, 10 unearned, to take an 11-10 lead.
CoC added two more scores in the top of the fourth before Hunter Klingelhoffer stopped the bleeding in the bottom half of the inning with a home run.
Canyons added two more runs in the top of the fifth to take a 15-11 lead midway through the game. The the Pirates' comeback began. A pair of walks, a fielder's choice and a wild pitch scored Gibbons-Matsuyama in the bottom half of the column to make it 15-12. VC then tallied three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score. Soto and Chavez led off the inning with singles and Travis Vaala walked to load the bases. Gibbons Matsuyama hit into a double-play that scored Soto, then Baldovino provided the big bat in the inning with his second two-run homer of the game.
After the COugars retook the lead, 16-15, in the top of the seventh, VC answered with three more runs. Langerman walked to lead of fthe inning and Martinez singled. Klingelhoffer provided a two-RBI double, then scored on Chavez's sacrifice fly.
CoC added another score in the eighth, but VC scored a pair of insurance runs on an error by the Cougars to provide the final 20-17 margin.
Noah Proffitt started the game on the mound for the Pirates, pitching into the fourth inning, He got little help from his defense as only three of his 13 runs yielded were earned. Grayson Rocha pitched an inning of scoreless relief, as did Anthony Betancourt in picking up the win. Blake Campbell closed the game with two innings of work to pick up the save.
Ventura opens Western State Conference North Division play on Tuesday Feb. 18 at Cuesta.