With each team playing in new leagues this season, the Cabrillo and Carpinteria high school baseball teams squared off for their annual matchup at the Warriors’ John Calderwood Field last Saturday afternoon, March 30. New Citrus Coast League representative, Carpinteria, tallied three runs in the first inning and made those stand in a 3-2 win over new Channel League entrant, the Conquistadores. With the victory, the Warriors improved to 8-4 on the year, and Cabrillo dropped to 3-11. 

After shutting down the visitors from Lompoc in the top of the first, Carpinteria lefty hurler Chase Mayer doubled over the head of right fielder Steven Moreno. Then, Noah Nuño bunted for a hit and Conq’s starter Luke Kovach walked Myles Souza to load the bases. Jacob Macias was hit by the pitch to bring home the first run to put the home team at 1-0. The next batter Tyler Cervantes lined a single to drive in Nuño, and Souza came home on a wild pitch to make it 3-0 after one.    

Meanwhile, Mayer was comfortably mowing down the Cabrillo hitters during the first three innings, giving up no runs on one hit with four strikeouts to maintain the three-run lead. “You don’t always get to face a lefty, and he’s a good lefty,” said Warriors coach Pat Cooney. “So, he’s throwing a good tailing fastball and a nice curveball in there, and he’ll throw a change and knuckleball once in a while, too,” added Cooney.

But Kovach continued to battle, stranding eight Carpinteria runners through four innings to keep his team in the game. “There was a chance in the first and in the second to add on (to the lead), and we didn’t. So, that was the frustrating part,” explained Cooney. In the meantime, the Conquistadores were able to scratch one across on a wild pitch in the fourth to make it a 3-1 game. 

 Cabrillo added another run in the fifth to make it 3-2. The team nearly scored in the sixth with two runners aboard. However, catcher Diego Hernandez threw out relief pitcher Patrick Garcia trying to steal third and Mayer struck out Mason Townes. Mayer then got Ethan Malta to pop up, getting the team out of the jam. The Conquistadores had one more crack at it in the final inning. With runners on first and second, Mayer was able to strikeout pinch hitter Michael Greene to preserve the non-league win.  

At games’ end, Mayer had given up one earned run and three hits, while striking out 11 batters. On offense, Mayer and Souza led the way with two hits apiece. The Warriors return to league play, hosting Malibu on April 5with the first pitch at 3:30 p.m.  

For the Cabrillo’s baseball program, it is the end of an era. After 25 seasons at the helm, coach Jon Osborne will retire at the end of the season. “Saying farewell to Ozzie is bittersweet to say the least, we have really gotten to know each other and our families in the baseball context,” said Cooney of the rivalry that started back in ’96. “My kids wear Cabrillo baseball t-shirts around the house,” said Cooney, adding that after the game, the host team traditionally feeds the visitors as a display of good will. 

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