Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Baseball: Santa Maria’s Assault Yields a CIF-SS D6 Title (6/3/17)

In the finals for the first time since 1957, Santa Maria took advantage of the opportunity with a 9-0 win over Moreno Valley to win the Southern Section Division 6 title. Photo/Paul Luna

By TONY ARDUINO

Santa Maria used an explosive offense in the playoffs — 57 runs, to be exact — to reach the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 Championship game against Moreno Valley.

The overpowering assault continued on Saturday as the Saints — playing for their first title in 60 years — pounded out 12 hits en route to a 9-0 win over Moreno Valley at UC Riverside.

“We preach to pick each other up offensively,” Santa Maria coach Rick Herbert said. “We’ve been swinging the bat well all year in practice and that success has continued into games.”

The Saints’ offensive onslaught was not really needed because junior right-hander Trevor Garcia held Moreno Valley bats in check all afternoon. Garcia threw a complete game, striking out seven and allowing only four hits.

“I really settled down today and threw a lot of strikes,” an excited Garcia said. “I trusted my defense and they were being aggressive so I kept pounding the zone … I am just so excited to be a CIF champion.”

Garcia retired eleven straight Vikings from the second through sixth innings and was in complete control throughout, mixing in his off-speed pitches regularly.

“He was outstanding today and he has been doing it all year,” Herbert said. “He was pounding the zone and getting tons of ground balls. His defense did the rest.”

The game looked to be a pitchers’ duel early on as Moreno Valley starter Pedro Chayeb put up three zeroes in the first three innings.  Santa Maria loaded the bases in the third inning but failed to score when Chayeb defended a safety squeeze bunt perfectly, throwing out the would-be run.

Bobby Ruiz’ two-run single were the only runs Santa Maria needed in its 9-0 victory over Moreno Valley in the Division 6 title game. Photo/Paul Luna

Then in the fourth, the Saints offense ignited as it has so often this season and batted through the order. Six straight batters reached base to start the inning.  The biggest hit came when the lineup’s No. 8 hitter, Bobby Ruiz, singled up the middle — through a drawn-in infield — that scored two runs and gave Santa Maria a 2-0 lead.

“I was very nervous going into the at-bat,” Ruiz said. “I grounded out my first at-bat and I knew I had to come through for my team.  He threw me a fastball and I hit it right back up the middle … it felt good.”

Marcos Rodriguez and Isiah Garcia followed with RBI singles and Angel Esparza drove in the sixth Saints’ run with a fielder’s choice RBI, giving Santa Maria a 6-0 lead.

Santa Maria added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth on RBI singles from Tommy Herrera and Robert Lopez.  Herrera had three hits on the day.

Marc Cerrato had two hits for Moreno Valley in the losing effort.

The championship appearance is the first for Santa Maria since 1957.

“Coach told us last night to just play the game the way we’ve been playing it all year,” Garcia said.  “We just came together as a family … it gives me the chills just thinking that we are CIF champions.”

(NOTE: Report news and notes to So Cal Sidelines editor-in-chief/softball writer Carlos Arias via email (carlos.arias@socalsidelines.com), text (949-606-3602) or Tweet (@SoCalSidelines))

Follow us on Twitter @SoCalSidelines.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply