City College baseball blows seven run comeback against Cuesta

Dan Nelson and Dan Nelson

City College rallied back from an 11-4 deficit in the eighth and ninth inning on Friday’s four-hour season- finale marathon—only to lose in the 10th inning 13-11 to Cuesta.

The Cuesta Cougars scored twice in the top of the 10th to beat the Vaqueros for the second time in as many days.

Danny Cavaletto hit a homerun in the first for the Vaqueros, who lead the state in homeruns with a school-record 56.

“The eighth and ninth innings were a good example of not throwing in the towel when you’re faced with adversity,” said Cavaletto. “The season was on the line and no one was ready to quit and give up.

“We were having some great at-bats and got hits when we needed them the most,” added Cavaletto. “But our defense wasn’t helping us.”

The defense was lacking once again for the Vaqueros. The team committed six errors, leading to six unearned runs.

“That’s been our Achilles all season long,” said head coach Teddy Warrecker. “After we got the three-run homer to tie it, we misplayed a ball and it was a common theme all year long,

“We weren’t able to overcome what we do on the defensive side even with championship-level offense and at times, great pitching. Our giveaways were just too much,” added Warrecker.

The 4-4 game was snapped in the eighth when Cuesta posted seven runs to take a commanding 11-4 lead.

Left-hander Joe McGrew pitched up until the eighth for the Vaqueros. He allowed five runs on eight hits. One of those runs was unearned. Greg Selarz replaced McGrew after he hit the first batter in the eighth. Selarz forced in two runs on hit batters with the bases loaded then, Cuesta Cougar, Ty Muller had a two-run single off D.J. Gunderson making up 4 of the seven runs given up in the inning by SBCC.

The Vaqueros responded with four runs in the bottom of the eighth, capped by Daniel Howell’s two-run double.

Then in the ninth, Abe Ruiz hit a three-run homer to right-center to tie the game at 11. It was the 11th homer of the year for the Arizona State transfer, who went 3-5 in the game with four RBIs and three runs scored.

“First pitch he spun a slider for strike one, that was just as good a pitch to hit as the second one he threw me,” said Abe Ruiz about the pivotal ninth inning at bat. “On the 0-1 count…he missed over the middle of the plate with a fastball and as soon as I hit it I knew it was gone and fortunately that gave us a few more opportunities to push across the winning run.”

“Coming back from seven runs down, that’s as big a swing as I can remember in 10 years here,” said coach Warrecker. “Abe’s been doing this for the last month with a torn labrum and a torn rotator cuff. He’s been incredibly courageous and will leave a great mark on this program.”

Cavaletto and Steven Keller had three hits each on the day. The Vaqueros slugged 16 overall. Tommy White, who has the Western State Conference’s top batting average at .435, had two hits along with Howell and Connor Rehage.

With the loss, City College finishes tied with Cuesta for third in the WSC North. However, Cuesta wins the tiebreaker having defeated first place Oxnard during the season while City College failed to do so. The Vaqueros finish the year with a 20-16 record and 10-10 in the WSC North. Cuesta end the regular season 19-17 and 10-10 in the WSC North.