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  • Writer's pictureRobert Hollar

Pirates Steal Shepherds Series in Extra Inning Thriller

LA MIRADA — The Ventura County Pirates (26-9, 16-8 in Sunset Baseball League play) needed the full depth of their lineup to defeat the SoCal Shepherds (15-8 SBL) in 10 innings, 7-5 at Biola University Monday.

The victory ensures the Pirates a 3-1 win of the season series between the two best teams in the SBL. With the playoffs a week away, the game also served as a final opportunity for each team to scout the other before a possible postseason matchup.

Pirates’ first baseman Jason Ajamian opened the scoring with a two-run blast over the 345’ sign on the left-center field wall. The homer was his eighth of the year, giving him sole possession of the team lead in that category.

“I figured they were gonna come with the fastball because I was late on the one before that so they did it again and [I was] just on time and ended up getting some good barrel,” Ajamian said.

Ajamian reached base four times and laced a crucial single in the top of the 10th inning. A bunt towards third by designated hitter Bradley Chesterton created a three-base-error. Ajamian scored the eventual winning run on the play.

Ventura County needed production from the bottom of the lineup just to reach extra innings. Extra hitter Nick Henry batted eighth and had two doubles including a two-out RBI in the eighth inning that tied the game, 5-5.

Henry did the catching beginning in the eighth. He tagged out the lead runner at home when Ajamian threw to the plate on a grounder to first in the tenth inning. The runner attempted to jump over the tag, but Henry placed a two-hand push-tag on the chest of the runner just after takeoff.

Ventura County extra hitter Nick Henry tags out Nic Costas of the SoCal Shepherds – Kyla, SoCal Shepherds staff photographer, July 15 2019

Deandrey Carter, who pitched the last five innings of the game, threw yet another excellent outing. He allowed just one run and had three strikeouts while earning the win. Carter (4-0) initiated a game-ending double play on a comebacker with a runner in scoring position in the 10th.

Shortstop Frank Garriola extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a single in the seventh inning.

Catcher Emelio Morales hit at the bottom of the order and kept the lineup moving by drawing three walks. He has developed a reputation as a tough out who can extend plate appearances during his short time with the Pirates.

Ventura County returns home to face the SoCal Sparrows 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16 at LA Valley College in Valley Glen.


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