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Carraway goes deep twice for Vikings
BARSTOW • Wins don’t come in much more dramatic fashion.
After trailing for four innings, the Barstow Community College baseball team suddenly came to life against Chaffey on Thursday. The Vikings scored twice to tie the game in the ninth, then got another run in the 10th for a 5-4 Foothill Conference win.
Though the Vikings played tight, error-free defense and had pitching that kept the home team in it for 10 frames, in the end, it came down to offense. Barstow rapped out nine hits overall, two of them home runs that were launched in the last two innings. Both came from James Carraway, a solo shot in the ninth, and a two-run walk-off dinger to end it in the 10th.
“Carraway was a preseason All-American, and in my estimation, he’s the Foothill’s most valuable player,” said Vikings head coach Nate Lambdin after the win. “He’s a big reason for the turnaround in our program.”
Prior to the ninth, the Viking bats had been pretty quiet, but the Barstow pitchers did a good job keeping the Panthers in check, as well. Starter Joshua King scattered four singles through the first four frames without giving up a run. He was helped by a double play in the first, as shortstop Michael Martinez snagged a line drive and relayed to second to double off the runner. Carraway also contributed with his glove, making nice catches in the fourth and fifth, and coming up with a diving grab for the first out of the second.
“He’s one of the best defensive outfielders in the league. Game after game he’s come up with big catches,” said Lambdin of his sophomore rightfielder. “He’s the best defensive rightfielder I’ve seen in my 20 years of coaching.”
Chaffey got on the board with a run in the fifth, on an RBI single by Kyle Jackson. There was another run in the seventh, as Mason Shiflett doubled and came home on a Ryan Lemus single, and Ryan Goodman led off the eighth with a double and scored on an Andrew Dorado single.
King went the first 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on nine hits, walking one. Manny Rodriguez (1r, 3h) tossed an inning, and Santino Bejarano (0r, 1h) went 1.2.
“Our bullpen kept it close,” said Lambdin. “We didn’t give up the big inning, and that’s paramount.”
The Panthers’ Diego Ibarra pitched a complete game. He gave up a run in the third, as Treyson Park was hit by a pitch and scored on an error, but for the next five frames he was untouchable, facing the minimum 15 batters.
In the ninth, the Panthers had a 3-1 lead needing just three more outs. Ibarra, however, was suddenly touchable, as Carraway led off by sending the ball over the fence in right. Michael McNicholl followed with a single, and after an out, Marcos Sanchez moved McNicholl up with a single before Kris Soto dunked a pitch into short right to plate the run and tie the game.
Chaffey got one in the top of the 10th on an RBI single by Isaiah Delsi. That left some work for the Vikings to do, but they had Carraway coming up again in the bottom half. He was surprised when Ibarra again took the mound.
“I thought they’d change the pitcher,” said Carraway. “I thought he might try to pitch around me, but after the first pitch, I realized he was coming after me, so I geared up for battle.”
Martinez had put a hurt on Ibarra by leading off the 10th with a double to left. That put Carraway in line to win the game, and he won the battle, going deep to right for the walk-off homer.
“It was great, something to remember for the rest of my life,” said Carraway.
Gabriel Soto (1r, 2h, 0bb, 1k) pitched the 10th for Barstow and got the win.
While the big win triggered a jubilant celebration for the Vikings, the team has come up just short of grabbing one of those elusive Foothill playoff berths. Still, it was a successful season, with the Vikings currently at 13-10 in the conference, 21-13 overall. The team will finish with a winning record and stayed in the hunt right to the end.
“We gave it a great run,” said Carraway. “I’ve never been part of a group that worked this hard. I wouldn’t trade this season for anything in the world.”
The Vikings have one game left, at Chaffey today for a 2:30 start.