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Chargers fall to San Marcos 4-2

By Kristen Gowdy

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Joe Huthsing throws the ball back to the pitcher (Kristen Gowdy/photo)

By Kristen Gowdy | Sports Editor | May 9, 2012

One game.

That’s all that stood between the Dos Pueblos baseball team and an outright Channel League Championship as they took the field on Wednesday afternoon to take on the fifth place team–crosstown rival San Marcos.

Instead, the Chargers had to settle for a share of the title after dropping the game 4-2. Their league record ties with Buena’s.

The San Marcos team that competed today did not look like team who currently holds the last place position in league. The Royals came out with energy and fire and upset DP for the second time this season.

“That’s why baseball is such a special sport,” said DP head coach Nate Mendoza. “A true underdog can come out and win any day. They were just better than us today.”

Before the Royals could muster a run, however, the Chargers struck first, stealing home in the third inning after a wild pitch by San Marcos’ freshman pitcher Sean Nakano-West.

In the fifth inning though, defensive mistakes plagued Dos Pueblos, as two throwing errors allowed the Royals to score a run and put two runners on base. A triple from junior Joe Prince scored both runners. A single by senior Jimmy Brakka scored Prince, and the Royals took the lead for good.

In the sixth, the Chargers threatened to blow the game open when they scored a run on a Brett Patton single and loaded the bases with one out, but Brakka came into relieve Prince, and after walking Nolan Soto, stifled DP’s momentum, retiring the next two Chargers with a strikeout and a line out to first base.

Dos Pueblos was able to put a runner on in the seventh inning when Anthony Spiritosanto singled to right field, but it was not enough, as Brakka forced Gabe Speier to ground out to end the game.

For Mendoza, however, this game can be looked upon as a learning experience for the Chargers as they head into CIF playoffs.

“We just try to keep it in perspective, we have a home game next week and are going into playoffs as the top seeded team from Channel League.”

However, Mendoza knows that his team needs to pull it together defensively in order to make a run in the postseason.

“We made a lot of defensive errors. If we play against a playoff team that way next week, we will get smoked at home,” he added.

All is certainly not lost for the Chargers, as they still receive the first place seed from the Channel League heading into playoffs, even though their record is identical to Buena’s. Because the Chargers beat the Bulldogs twice (in three league meetings) they earn the right to a top seed, and with it, home field advantage in the playoffs.

There was also another positive that DP took away from the game. Senior standout Joe Huthsing closed the game, pitching two hitless innings. Huthsing, who would have normally been the team’s ace pitcher this year, was forced to catch due to an arm injury. With his return to the mound, the Chargers extend their pitching depth, which they will need in order to make a run in the playoffs.

“We’ve got him going strong, and he’s pitched innings, which is what we wanted,” continued Mendoza. “We want him to get experience on the mound because he hasn’t been able to get it this year.”

Though DP lost today, their sights are now set on extending their season for as long as possible by winning in playoffs.

“We’re just trying to keep it as positive as possible,” concluded Mendoza. “We’re Channel League Champs, we don’t have to play a wildcard playoff game, and we have a home game next week. Those are all things to be excited about.”

 

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One Response to “Chargers fall to San Marcos 4-2”

  1. Lauren Udden on May 10th, 2012 9:29 PM

    Buena was not tied with the Chargers, although they had a chance to tie with a win vs. Ventura today. Fortunately for the Chargers, Ventura beat Buena 1-0 today and the Chargers are the outright Channel League champs. Congrats, Chargers, on a great accomplishment.

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Chargers fall to San Marcos 4-2