Warriors Mount Historic Comeback Win at Santa Barbara

Photo by Bill Hood
Photo by Bill Hood

After six innings, El Camino College was down to its last nine outs and had a nearly insurmountable deficit. Nearly.

By day's end, the Warriors were on cloud nine after mounting a historic 14-10 comeback victory over Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon at Pershing Park.

The Warriors trailed 10-1 heading into the seventh but the team exploded for nine runs in the inning to tie things up and then scored four times in the eighth inning to take the lead for good.

The deficit was the biggest overcome by a Warriors team led by head coach Nate Fernley, who is in his 13th season at the helm of ECC.

The comeback started meagerly as Matthew Beserra reached base on an error at second base. He advanced into scoring position on a passed ball and then Joseph Borges hit an infield single to put the first two runners on.

After Jerry Granillo came in to pinch run at first, Jose Ruiz Jr. laced a double down the left-field line to plate both runners and trim the deficit to 10-3 with Ruiz Jr. taking third on the throw to home plate.

Trevor McInerney reached first on yet another error by the Vaqueros and that marked the end of reliever Michael Jacobson's day on the mound after two innings of work.

William Blackburn came in to pitch in relief but he found none on the mound as Cody Wissler greeted the pitcher with a double to left field to score two more runs for the Warriors and make it 10-5.

The merry-go-round on the bases continued as Taishi Nakawake was pelted by a pitch and then both runners advanced 90 feet on a passed ball. A base hit by Diego Alarcon plated Wissler to make it 10-6 and the Warriors had trimmed five runs off the deficit without an out being recorded.

Jordan Folgers was the unlucky player to end that streak as he flied out to right field but then Spencer Palmer drew a walk to load the bases and that was the end of the line for Blackburn.

David Appleby took his turn on the firing line and Beserra blasted away with an infield single to short, scoring Nakawake and making it a 10-7 game.

Granillo, who entered earlier in the inning as a pinch runner, brought a bat with him but it proved unnecessary as he drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 10-8.

Ruiz Jr. hit into a fielder's choice as the Vaqueros got the second out of the inning on a force out at home.

But McInerney completed the impossible, hammering a double down the right-field line to score two and tie things up 10-10.

Jonathan Keller entered the game as the fourth pitcher of the inning for Santa Barbara and he finally put a temporary end to the madness by getting Wissler to ground out.

But there was more mayhem in store in the top of the eighth depite a meager start to the frame. Nakawake and Alarcon each made outs for the Warriors but Folgers was hit by a pitch to keep the inning going.

He took second on a bad pickoff attempt by Keller and then Palmer was hit by another pitch to put two runners on.

Beserra stepped up and put together a repeat performance, lacing a two-run double to left-center field to give the Warriors a 12-10 lead, their first lead of the game since holding a 1-0 advantage after the top of the first.

Granillo then capped off the historic comeback, blasting a two-run homer deep over the right field fence to put the Warriors ahead 14-10.

Joseph Brazil, who entered the game in the bottom of the seventh, finished things off by stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to lock down the win for the Warriors.

Beserra would finish the game 3-for-5 with a double, three runs scored and three RBI. Granillo scored three times and drove in three while recording just one official at-bat on the day.

The Warriors will return to action Tuesday afternoon as they hit the road to face Cypress at 2 p.m.