Two things changed for Lompoc High on the baseball diamond while tied at 4-4: The Braves’ hill option and their hitting ability.
Both worked incredibly for LHS – as Kalub Ramirez surrendered just one run after the third inning and Lompoc tacked on 11 more runs to pull away 15-5 against Orcutt Academy on Tuesday at Elks Field.
Head coach Brian Agualiar liked how his team responded to being tied against the Spartans.
“We talk a lot about not giving away free bases and not walking guys. Our first guy unfortunately didn’t have command because he was giving away too many free bases. We then put a guy who shoved it over the plate and he got it done for us. Plus our defense played well today,” Agualiar said.
Both teams started fast in the first inning. Ruben Cortez smashed a single that brought Justin Allen home that made it 1-0. The Spartans would return the favor with freshman Dean Samuel sending his fly ball toward left field for the RBI, tying the game at 1-1. Samuel than gave Orcutt Academy its first lead of the game after a passed ball at first base got him to capitalize on that miscue.
Lompoc (3-1) extended the lead to 4-2 behind another Cortez RBI and Jeff Ray getting involved on the RBI act too. Then in the bottom of the second, Robert Jimenez smashed a ground ball RBI that cut the lead to 4-3, followed by Dylan Fulton taking the walk home while the bases were loaded that tied things at 4-4.
But the Braves rout was on from there. Allen sent a triple to the fence that brought two of his teammates’ home – building the lead to 6-4. Allen returned to blast another single RBI that gave LHS a three-run lead.
As the sun started to set on the Elks Field grass, Lompoc continued swinging away. Oscar Reyes drove Ray home with his RBI that made it 8-4. Cortez and Reyes then helped expand the lead to 13-4 with their runs.
Agualiar, a former LHS baseball standout, said time in the cage on the cross streets of West College Avenue and North O Street have assisted the Braves’ hitting prowess.
“We haven’t had a lot of live looks. We kind of put some work in the cage the last couple of days. I think some of our middle of the order guys came through for us and kind of took some pressure away from the bottom of the order,” Agualiar said.
The rookie head coach of the Braves adds his basketball guys – Cortez, Ray, Devin Villalobos and Ryan Morgan – have also impressed with their ability to juggle baseball with preparing for a road CIF state playoff game on Wednesday against Los Angeles View Park.
“They haven’t had that many reps at the bat,” Agualiar said. “But I think you’re starting to see a little bit of them get some practice time in and starting to swing a little better.
“They come back Wednesday night and then play on Thursday. It’s a tough schedule. But you know kids, they don’t like to practice and they can take a chance to play when they could. I’m sure they’ll want to play that game (on Thursday).”
Lompoc returns home to face Santa Ynez for a 3:30 p.m. contest. The Spartans also return home and will face Cabrillo at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Cabrillo 16, Santa Maria 2
The Conquistadores nearly swept the singles and doubles side at Santa Maria High on Tuesday.
Cedric Kwon and Anton Bothig overcame a slow start to win all three of their singles sets. Christian Barrick won two of three of his matches.
Alex Fernandez and Brad Bleak – Cabrillo’s No. 1 doubles option – swept all three of their matches. Same with the No. 2 team of Zach Porter and Marco Monroy for CHS.
Clark Kringel won a singles match, and Drew Kringel and Cris Ramirez took a doubles set for the Santa Maria points.