Ventura County Comes Up Short Against Inland Valley in Championship Finale
Updated: Aug 3
ORANGE, CA - The roller coaster that was the Ventura County Pirates' 2021 campaign came to a close Sunday night, just running out of gas against their toughest league opponent in the Inland Valley Pirates. The final score was 5-3, giving Inland Valley a 2-1 Best of the West Championship Series win, and solidifying a 7-2 head-to-head record for the summer.
Ventura kept it close in the early innings with good defense that kept the Inland Valley baserunners from touching home plate, including a clutch relay from Johnny Pacheco in right field to Jason Ajamian and on to Bradley Chesterton at home plate to prevent a run from scoring and also ended the second inning.
After allowing four runs by the end of the fourth inning, Ventura County got on the board in the top of the fifth as Jacob Ortega led off with a triple to deep right field, with Trenton Pallas driving him home on an RBI ground out.
Garrett Apker took the mound in relief in the bottom of the fifth and struck out the side, before Johnny Pacheco would double in the top of the sixth and then come home on Darren Taylor's RBI single. Apker recorded two more strikeouts before Josh Howitt took over, pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Derek Potts was brought in to record the final out of the bottom of the eighth.
Before this weekend's Best of the West Championship, the Ventura County Pirates appeared in three consecutive Sunset League finals, dating back to 2017.