The Ventura County Pirates (28-9, 17-8 in Sunset Baseball League play) can clinch the number 1 overall SBL playoff seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over the Orange County Legends (22-18, 15-11 SBL) at Brookhurst Park in Anaheim 7 p.m. Friday.
Ventura County could clinch the division title, and thus a first-round playoff bye, even without a win if the 4:30 p.m. game between the South Bay Sliders and the Signal Hill Oilers produces an Oilers’ victory. However, that scenario keeps the magic number for the overall number 1 playoff seed at 1.
The Pirates have won three of the four previous meetings against the Legends and have outscored them 41-19 in the process. The Legends won the last meeting, 2-0, July 13.
Ventura is coming off a 15-0 Victory over the Solana Beach Redbirds which ended the Redbirds’ 14-game winning streak Wednesday, July 17.
High run production is the norm for the Pirates. All-Star Frank Garriola has an active 18-game hitting streak and his eight home runs ties him for the team lead with All-Star first baseman Jason Ajamian.
The Pirates’ lineup is incredibly deep. Neither Ajamian nor Garriola played in the 15-0 rout of the Redbirds. All-Star right fielder Eddie Pietschmann, All-Star catcher Bradley Chesterton, and INF/RHP Matthew Sox all hit home runs that game.
Catcher Nick Henry is quietly 7-13 with three doubles and a home run during his four-game hitting streak.
All-Stars Curren Larson and Deandrey Carter are expected to pitch Friday. Among pitchers with at least 25 innings pitched, Carter and Larsen have the two lowest ERAs on staff at 1.01 and 1.08, respectively. They also tie for the team lead with four wins each and have just one loss between them.
Sebastian Zepeda (2-1) will likely pitch in relief against the Legends. He leads the team with 36 strikeouts after hurling five strikeouts in just two innings against the Redbirds Wednesday.