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Bijan Palme Tosses One-Hitter, Dons Win CIF Wild-Card Game, 2-1

Santa Barbara’s Bijan Palme allowed Burroughs only one hit in the fourth inning. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara’s Bijan Palme allowed Burroughs only one hit in the fourth inning. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Hits and runs were precious commodities in Wednesday's CIF-SS Division 2 wild-card baseball game.

Bijan Palme threw a one-hitter and Santa Barbara High collected just two hits in beating Burroughs-Burbank, 2-1, at Eddie Mathews Field. The Dons will play a first-round game at Marmonte League-champion and fourth-seeded Newbury Park on Friday.

Palme, a senior right-hander, improved to 3-5 and lowered his ERA to 2.70. The Dons won their sixth straight one-run game and are 12-14-1 on the year. Nicco Chuidian tossed a two-hitter for Burroughs (13-14) and allowed two unearned runs while striking out two, walking one and hitting two batters.

Palme allowed just two runners in the seven-inning game and the lone run was unearned. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter. He retired the last 11 in a row and 17 of the last 18.

“My biggest thing was mixing it up, sometimes throwing fastballs first pitch to the middle of their order,” said Palme, who plans to pitch for SBCC next year. “When I threw my bender, I was very confident. I didn’t think they would hit my bender today. I was working on getting a lot of pitches over the plate and making sure they made contact.

“There were some crazy plays on the infield and Linus (Holmberg) made a couple of them at third base. He snared that line drive on the first pitch of the game and then made that diving play in the sixth inning. That was huge.”

Palme stuck out the first two batters in the fifth on three pitches apiece and then got a groundout to second for a seven-pitch inning. He only threw 61 pitches in the 90-minute game.

Third baseman Linus Holmberg made big defensive plays in the first and sixth innings. Click to view larger
Third baseman Linus Holmberg made big defensive plays in the first and sixth innings.  (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

“I was trying to throw a lot of first-pitch strikes and let my infield do the work,” said Palme. “The first inning, I was a little nervous and then I settled in and felt confident, outside of that blip in the fourth.”

Chuidian led Burroughs to a 1-0 shutout of the Dons in the fourth game of the season. The Dons started the year 1-6 in one-run games but have won their last six.

Sophomore first baseman Nick Dallow got the Dons’ first hit, a leadoff double down the left-field line in the second. SBHS loaded the bases when Zach Jensen was hit by a pitch with one out and Palme reached on an error by the second baseman.  Holmberg swung at strike three in the dirt and Dallow scored on the wild pitch to make it 1-0.

“I saw a pitch that I liked, middle in, and got a piece of it down the line.” said Dallow of his double. “I got a good read off him the first time (we played) and got a couple of hits in that game. I knew his speed and I was able to pick up the ball off his hand.

He added: “We knew Bijan was going to do a great job on the mound and hold them to one or two runs. We just needed to get a couple on the board. We’ve found a way to win one-games lately and our pitching has been great.”

With runners on second and third and two out in the fourth, Grant Feldman’s grounder was booted by the third baseman, allowing Jensen to score for a 2-0 advantage.

Palme held the visitors hitless until the fourth when Justin Palatox singled to center with one out. He went to third when the center fielder tried to back-pick him off first and he was awarded third base when the ball went into the dugout. Palatox scored on a groundout by Jacob Barrera, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

“The first five guys I was throwing sliders on the first pitch, second pitch, even three straight sliders and they were off-balance, expecting fast balls,” Palme noted. “Further down in the order, I tried to throw first-pitch fast balls to get ground balls or fly balls and that worked well.

“It was huge to get two runs in the second inning because we usually don’t do that until the sixth or seventh.”

Santa Barbara coach Donny Warrecker was happy to see his team grab an early 2-0 lead.

“Getting two runs in the second is like five or 10 runs for us,” said Warrecker. “They kind of gifted the runs and overall, I was a little disappointed in our offensive approach. We’ve been working pretty hard on that the last couple of days. They helped us out with a hit-by-pitch, an error, a ball in the dirt on strike three and another error. We’re happy to get the runs any way we can.”

Center fielder Joe Firestone got the only hit for the Dons in the last four innings, singling through the right side to open the bottom of the sixth.

“Bijan was the story of the day,” Warrecker said. “He only gives up one hit and no earned runs with six strikeouts and no walks. He’s been pitching extremely well lately and that had to be his best performance of the year. He was awfully close to a no-hitter. Their hit came on an 0-2 pitch that he unfortunately threw it up in the zone. He’s commanded the zone incredibly well and done a really good job with two strikes.”

Santa Barbara will senior left-hander Alex Chicote to the mound against Newbury Park.

“That will be a challenge,” said Warrecker of facing the Panthers. “They’re a very good program (20-9 with a team ERA of 1.36) and they won their league. Their No. 1 pitcher (Carson Lambert, 6-1, 0.96 ERA) is going to USC. Hopefully, we’ll pitch like we can and play great defense.”

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