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  • Robert Hollar

Pirates Complete Home Campaign Against Redbirds

The Ventura County Pirates (27-9, 17-8 in Sunset Baseball League play) play host to the hottest team in the SBL, the Solana Beach Redbirds (18-13, 15-9 SBL) in their final home game of the season 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at LA Valley College.


The game is a designated non-league matchup because the two teams have already played four league games against each other. Thus, Ventura County’s magic number to win the SBL North will remain 1 regardless of the outcome Wednesday. However, if the So Cal Shepherds of the SBL South lose to the SoCal Sparrows, the Pirates’ magic number to win the overall first playoff seed would reduce to 1.


Defeating the Redbirds would end their 14-game winning streak. The Pirates, who have won 10 of their last 13 games, have won all four of the previous meetings with the Redbirds and have outscored them 47-6 this summer.


Ventura won its last game with the Redbirds, 16-2 June 22. First baseman Jason Ajamian and second baseman Brendon Vela each hit home runs while shortstop Frank Garriola had 5 RBIs.


Garriola extended his hitting streak to 19 games in the Pirates’ most recent contest, a 6-0 win over the Sparrows Tuesday. His homer that game was his eighth of the year and tied Ajamian for the most home runs on the team this season. Garriola and Ajamian are first and second in the SBL with 40 and 28 RBIs, respectively.


Right handed pitcher Shohei Umeki is expected to start Wednesday bringing his team-best 26-4 Strikeout-to-walk ratio to the mound. Umeki, who has pitched 29 innings this year, has the fewest walks on the team among pitchers with more than five innings pitched.


Ethan Durant and Sebastian Zepeda will likely be used in relief of Umeki. Durant has twirled to a microscopic 1.64 ERA in 22 innings pitched. Zepeda has struck out 31 batters in just 19.2 innings this year.

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