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  • Robert Hollar

Pirates Set Sights on Oilers

Fresh off their most dominant road trip of the season, the Ventura County Pirates look to maintain their momentum as they return home for a Sunset Baseball League contest against the Signal Hill Oilers Tuesday.

Ventura County (15-4, 9-3 in SBL play) sits atop the SBL North with a two-game hold on first place. They went 6-1 on their recent road trip and carry a five game win streak into the match against the Oilers. The streak matches a season-long.

The Pirates’ offense has dominated opponents lately. Even Bench players have gotten in on the action.

Infielder Brendon Vela, who typically does not start, has a triple and a home run on the recent road trip meaning he could be emerging as a pinch-hit option in high-leverage situations. Vela is a capable defender, so using him offensively does not force an additional player off the bench to play defense.

Leadoff hitter Kyle Soberano has multiple hits in six consecutive games. Soberano often speaks about letting the ball travel instead of pulling the trigger too early on swings. He has been setting the example both vocally and through his play.

First baseman Jason Ajamian has increased his production heading into the game against the Oilers. A specialist in exit velocity, Ajamian hit his fourth and fifth homers of the year over the weekend. He has an extra-base-hit in three of his last four games.

Ajamian frequently bats behind cleanup hitter Frank Garriola. Garriola was 6-10 with nine RBIs during Saturday’s doubleheader and is the foundation of the Pirates’ run production. Pitching to him is a risky proposition, but with Ajamian swinging a hot bat behind him, the Oilers might think twice before walking him.

Griffin Hagen, Jason Starrels, Ethan Durant and Miguel Garcia are Tuesday’s expected pitchers for the Pirates on Tuesday.

The Pirates face the Oilers 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25 at LA Valley College.

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