Kyle Ferret, 16, guarding home base
Gauchos starter Evan Manarino suffered his first loss of the season on Thursday, as the Santa Ana Dons beat Saddleback 3-2.
This has been a phenomenal season thus far for Saddlebacks ace pitcher, Evan Manarino. He was a perfect 5-0 coming into this game looking to get his sixth straight over the equally talented team, the Santa Ana College Dons.
With Santa Ana’s best pitcher, Matt Blanchard, on the mound as well it was expected to be a great pitching duel. The game plan was to “try to be ready to hit and get his [Matt Blanchard] fastball early”, said Coach Sommer McCartney.
Through three innings neither pitcher was allowing any batters to get ahold of any of their pitches, with Blanchard only giving up one hit and Manarino only giving up two. It was all a matter of what pitcher would slip up first.
All was well for Manarino until the fourth inning where Santa Ana found their stride. They were able to put runners on base and ultimately brining in two runners to take the lead. Even though not many runs were scored by Santa Ana, Manarino was in constant trouble with men on base the whole 7.2 innings he pitched.
When asked if he wasn’t feeling it, or if Santa Ana was just a tough team he said, “Yeah, they were just a tough team. We will get them next time.” With an ERA of 3, ultimately it wasn’t a bad game for Manarino. But the 10 hits he gave up and the constant pressure of those situations isn’t the ideal situation you want your start pitcher to be in.
After the game Coach Sommer McCartney said about Manarino’s pitching that “he didn’t give us his great stuff today, but he gave us a chance to win.”
With the Gauchos only being able to put up two runs on the board out of the four hits they had, offensively the Gauchos weren’t anywhere to be found. Defensively it wasn’t any better, with them having three errors in the game.
At the bottom of the eight a ray of sunshine came down on the Gauchos in what looked to be a game tying rally they had going. They were finally able to get men on base consecutively and put them in scoring position.
Although they did put up a great fight in the end, ultimately the superior pitching of Matt Blanchard was too much for the Gauchos this game. They left a man on base and with that they were never able to put another man in scoring position, this solidified the win for the Santa Ana Dons and put them securely in first place in the Orange Empire Conference.