BARSTOW • The Vikings are back on the winning track.
After dropping its last series, three games to Mt. San Jacinto last week, the Barstow Community College baseball team has bounced back with two wins against College of the Desert. The Vikings shut out the Roadrunners, 4-0, on the road on Tuesday, then returned home for a 5-1 victory on Thursday.
In both games BCC got a good mound performance along with timely hitting. After Gabriel Soto pitched seven innings for the Tuesday win, Joshua King got the ball on Thursday and also went seven frames to help the Vikings toward their 13th victory of the season.
"We shut 'em down twice on back-to-back excellent pitching performances. They're a good-hitting team, so I give credit to our pitching staff," said head coach Nate Lambdin of the wins over Desert. "Josh really kept them off-balance today."
The Vikings only slightly outhit their opponent, 11-9, but almost kept the Roadrunners off the board for a second straight game. Desert got its hits, including two doubles, and got a runner to third base three times before scratching out a run in its last at-bat.
Each team committed three errors, two of which were costly for the Roadrunners. The Vikings' Peter Lelich hit a one-out single in the first inning and got to second on a ground out. Michael McNicholl followed with a grounder to short that was booted, putting Lelich on third, which allowed him to easily score the game's first run when Marcos Sanchez singled to right.
The next BCC run was also helped by a miscue. In the third, James Carraway walked and advanced on a fly to center. Sanchez followed with a single, but when the ball got away, Sanchez took second and Carraway scored.
No errors were required for the Vikings' big inning, the fourth, in which they scored three runs. There was a hit batter, as Gabriel Soto was plunked and came home on Carraway's single. The other two runs were courtesy of Jayson Henderson, whose shot to center drove in McNicholl, who walked, and Carraway. McNicholl wouldn't have made it home, except that he and Carraway both broke early, a move that paid off.
"That was a key at-bat by Henderson," said coach Lambdin. "The runners in motion and a two-strike RBI single. I think it really deflated them."
Any 1-2-3 innings King might have had were ruined by a stray hit or an error, but there were four innings in which he faced just four batters. He got some help from Lelich, who ran down a fly to left for the last out of the third, and the pitcher helped himself by picking a runner off first for the first out of the sixth.
King gave up no runs, walked none, and struck out six in his fifth win of the season. Silver Valley grad Joshua Hendley tossed the last two frames, walking one and striking out one. The Roadrunners got their lone run in the ninth, as Conner Garrison was hit by a pitch and scored on an error.
Desert used three pitchers, with starter Greg Turner (3.1ip, 4r, 5h, 3bb, 1k) taking the loss. Jeremy Moniot (2.2+ip, 1r, 4h, 2bb, 1k) and Jonathan Velasco (2ip, 0r, 2h, 0bb, 1k) finished up.
Carraway, who is eighth in the Foothill Conference in batting with a .380 average, had a hit and RBI, while Sanchez also drove in a run and went 3-for-5, and Kris Soto had two singles. Lelich hit two singles, and Treyson Park came off the bench for a lead-off single in the seventh.
The win leaves Barstow with records of 13-6, 7-4, while Desert drops to 7-14, 5-6.
"Overall, I'm very pleased with where we are," said Lambdin. "We need to work on some things, but this is a hardworking team. We'll try to make it three in a row on Saturday."
The final match of the series with Desert will be played Saturday in Palm Desert. The next home game is Tuesday against Cerro Coso, with a 2:30 p.m. start.