Pirates Prepared for CCL Test
The Ventura County Pirates (10-4, 16-5 in Sunset Baseball League play) travel to Santa Barbara to take on the Santa Barbara Foresters of the California Collegiate League Friday.
Ventura County has won seven of its last eight games. The Pirates had hit a home run in six consecutive games prior to their 6-2 victory over the SoCal Sparrows Thursday.
Pirates’ leadoff hitter Kyle Soberano has been tearing the seams off the ball all season. His .569 batting average leads the SBL among batters with over 40 at-bats. Soberano has been especially hot lately, going 20-32 at the plate since June 17. He is currently on an eight-game hitting streak and has multiple hits in seven of those games including three hits against the Arroyo Seco Saints of the CCL last Tuesday.
Shortstop Frank Garriola presents problems for opponents in the cleanup slot. The slugger has 15 RBIs in his last five games and leads the team with a 1.460 OPS. He also provides remarkable consistency batting above .460 on the year.
First baseman Jason Ajamian rounds out the three Pirates hitters with plus-.400 averages and over 50 at-bats. Ajamian’s classic power swing has helped him to a team-leading 6 home runs this season. He has been streaking recently with home runs in four of his last six games.
On the mound, the Pirates are led by Josh Howitt, who has not allowed an earned run in 19 innings pitched this season. He can work as a starter or a reliever. All three of his starts have been quality starts and he has a save in his only save opportunity this season.
Eric Crouse is also a threat on the rubber with a 3.45 ERA in 15.2 innings pitched on the summer. Crouse commands the zone with a strikeout-to-walk ratio better than 3-1. The Pirates face the Foresters 6 p.m. Friday June 28 at Pershing Park in Santa Barbara.