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Vaqueros Season Ends in Super Regional

(Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)
(Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)

By Jimmy Friery

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA - The Santa Barbara City College Baseball team's season ended on Friday after two losses in the SoCal Super Regionals to Golden West and Santa Ana.

Game 1, vs. Golden West, 16-5 L:

After SBCC dominated Santa Ana 18-1 on Thursday, Santa Ana drubbed Golden West 14-3 later that day. That set up a matchup between SBCC and Golden West on Friday morning. 

Coleton Dahl got the start on the mound for the Vaqueros, coming off a 7-inning, 1-run performance last weekend in the Regional against Mt. San Jacinto. Against Golden West, Dahl picked up where he left off, striking out two in a 1-2-3 1st inning.

The Vaqueros offense picked up where they left off, too. The first four batters of the game reached via single, walk, single, and Sebastian Arguelles' 2-RBI single. However, with two runners on and nobody out, the Vaqueros left them stranded, but took a 2-0 lead into the 2nd

The following inning, Dahl stranded the bases loaded on a double play to escape the jam. But, Golden West's lineup would not be held much longer.

In the top of the 3rd, two homers with two outs gave Golden West a 3-2 lead.

Meanwhile, the hosts' starter Alex Ramos struck out four of the next six batters he faced after the 2-run 1st inning. 

Golden West tacked on two more in the 4th, but Zach Torres homered in the bottom of the frame to give the Vaqueros a tad bit of momentum back. It was 5-3 Golden West at the conclusion of 4.

In the top of the 6th, two errors and two more runs forced Dahl out of the game, leaving with the Vaqueros trailing 7-2.

Next inning, the floodgates opened. An error, four walks, and four wild pitches/past balls were part of a 5-run inning. Quickly, Golden West ballooned the lead to 12-3 going into the bottom of the 7th.

The Vaqueros offense only recorded two hits between innings 2 through 8. Golden West scored four in the top of the 9th, putting the game surely out of reach.

SBCC was always going to play Santa Ana later in the day, regardless of the early game's results. The loss changed the circumstances, though, as both Santa Ana and, now, the Vaqueros were playing for their season. The victor would earn a rematch against Golden West on Saturday to decide the Super Regional, while the defeated's season would end.

Game 2, vs. Santa Ana, 9-4 L:

After SBCC beat Santa Ana 18-1 the following day, the teams were slated for an elimination game rematch. Baseball is a fickle sport.

A pitchers' duel at first, neither team scored through the first 3 innings. 

Bradley Johnson scattered four walks through the first 3, but they would bite him in the 4th. With two outs and the bases loaded, a walk brought in the first run of the game for Santa Ana. 

Then, in the 5th, the bases were loaded with nobody out when head coach Jeff Walker called on Halen Jaden Guerrero in relief. He walked in a run, but then induced a 1-2-3 double play for the first two outs. The next batter doubled, though, driving in two and giving Santa Ana a 4-0 lead.

The Vaqueros bats came alive in the top of the 6th, thankfully. A walk, single, and single led off the inning, and Patrick Walsh's 3-run double-plus-error made it 4–3.

In the 7th, SBCC stranded Ethan Watson on third with one out. Jack Holland relieved Guerrero in the bottom of the inning and stranded runners on first and second to preserve the 1-run deficit. 

The 8th started off with a Santa Ana error, allowing Sebastian Arguelles to reach. Then, with two outs, two strikes, and the bases loaded, a passed ball allowed the tying run to score. Going into the bottom of the 8th, the Vaqueros had come back to 4-4.

After a leadoff walk, Koehn Thomas relieved Holland. He induced a double play ball, but an error resulted in first and third with nobody out. Four hits, two walks, and another error later, Santa Ana had themselves a 5-run inning. Suddenly, it was 9-4 Santana with three outs to play.

SBCC would go scoreless in the 9th to close it out.

The Vaqueros, WSC-North champions, end the season with a 30-14 record, the most wins since 2015 (33). Their advancement to their third game of the Super Regional is also the farthest for the program since 2015, when they finished 5th in the state.

SBCC can hang their hats on a third consecutive postseason berth and second in the Super Regionals, coming off back-to-back WSC-North championships.

Next year's team will likely look a lot different. 8 of the 9 starters by the end of the year will be graduating, with Ethan Rodriguez the only returner. Starting pitchers Jake Villar and Coleton Dahl are also graduating, but Bradley Johnson will come back for his sophomore year. Competition among the rising sophomores, redshirt freshmen, and incoming freshmen will be rife going into 2025.