BARSTOW • The Vikings have a winning record this season due in good measure to their corp of accurate arms. Tuesday's game was no exception.
After losing a 13-inning battle to College of the Desert on Saturday, the Barstow Community College baseball team bounced back in its latest match. The Vikings hosted Cerra Coso, and behind seven strong innings from starter Gabriel Soto notched a 9-2 win on Tuesday.
Soto no-hit the Coyotes through the first six frames. He faced the minimum nine batters through the first three, striking out three of them. In the fourth he gave up a walk, but it resulted in just the one extra batter, and in the fifth and sixth it was back to 1-2-3 again.
"Gabe really closed the door on them. He pounded the zone, was throwing a lot of strikes, he was outstanding," said Vikings head coach Nate Lambdin. "He had a great fastball, offset with his breaking ball. They couldn't do much with it."
When the pitcher required a bit of defensive help, he got it from his fielders. First baseman Alex Pollard chased down a bouncer in the hole between first and second and shoveled to Soto covering the bag for the third out of the first. The Vikings' only error allowed Omar DeHaro, the first batter of the fifth, to reach second base, and Mike Yenkowski followed by lofting a pitch to right. Rightfielder James Carraway ran down the fly ball, then threw a bullet to third, where Kris Soto slapped the tag on DeHaro for the 9-9-5 double play, a feat not often seen.
"We have a very solid outfield," said coach Lambdin. "We have four guys for the three spots, and those four guys are so consistent and give us so much. They're a big piece of our success."
The Vikings got on the board in the second, as Pollard drew a walk, advanced on Jayson Henderson's single, and scored on an error. The home team's big inning was the fourth, when BCC batted around and four runs came in. There was an error and two hit batters, but there was also offense in the form of an RBI single from Kris Soto, two-RBI single from Marcos Sanchez, and run-scoring double by Pollard.
In the fourth, the Vikings tacked on two more. Gabriel Soto led off by getting all the way to second on an error, and scored on a Peter Lelich double. Michael McNicholl followed by singling in Lelich.
"Our offense was very consistent. We got key hits at key times," said Lambdin. "Eleven hits will keep you in any game."
After being shut down for six frames, the Coyotes finally got to Soto in the seventh. They scored twice, on RBI singles from Nick Meyers and Yenkowski. With two in and runners on second and third, Soto then got himself out of trouble by registering his seventh strikeout of the day.
The Vikings got both runs back in their half. Kris Soto stroked a lead-off single, moved up on a passed ball and a hit by pitch, and scored on a wild pitch. Treyson Park walked, and came home on Carraway's fly to deep right.
The Coyotes saw the BCC bullpen in the last two innings, and managed one more run. Joshua Hendley was brought in with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth. The Silver Valley grad contained the damage, with a sacrifice fly and ground out.
"They had something going, and he came in and really closed the door," said Lambdin of Hendley. "He gets better with every performance."
Sanchez pitched the ninth, giving up no runs on two hits. Thomas Shelly started for the Coyotes, giving up nine runs on 11 hits, walking three and striking out one. He was relieved by Daulton Freeman (2ip, 0r, 0h, 0bb, 1k). Soto allowed two runs on four hits, walked one and fanned seven.
The win leaves the Vikings with an overall record of 14-7, 8-5 in the Foothill Conference, while Coso falls to 3-17, 2-9.
"I think this can be a good series for us," said Lambdin of the match-up with the Coyotes. "But we'll have to bring our 'A' game. We have to bring our 'A' game no matter who we play."
The series with Cerro Coso continues on the road on Thursday, before another home game against the Coyotes on Saturday, with a 12 noon start.