• Robert Hollar

Pirates Meet Sparrows with Division Title on Horizon

With a division title in their sights, the Ventura County Pirates return home to LA Valley College to face the SoCal Sparrows 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16.


The Pirates have a 1.5 game lead over the South Bay Sliders in the SBL North. Ventura’s magic number is 3 meaning any combination of Pirates’ wins plus Sliders’ losses before the season ends that adds up to 3 clinches a division title for the Pirates.


Ventura is returning from a road victory over the SoCal Shepherds on Monday. The Pirates are 4-2 in the first game back from a road trip this season.


The season series is on the line as the Pirates and Sparrows have split their previous four meetings and do not play each other after Tuesday. Ventura County won the last meeting 6-2 June 27 on the shoulders of shortstop Frank Garriola who was 3-3 with a triple and four RBIs.


Garriola refuses to be denied in the batters box. He extended his active hitting streak to 18 games on Monday. His 22 game on-base streak began June 15. Garriola leads the SBL with 37 RBIs.


First baseman Jason Ajamian shared the team lead with Garriola in home runs, but claimed it for himself with his eighth round-tripper of the season Monday.

Jason Whaley could take the mound Tuesday. His 3-1 record has him tied for second on the staff in wins.


Shohei Umeki may pitch in relief. His 26-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio is by far the best on the team. His four walks are the fewest on the team among pitchers with at least 25 innings pitched.