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Baseball

Evan Kling’s 2 Homers Power Dos Pueblos in 12-1 Win Over San Marcos

Fourth straight league win clinches playoff spot for Chargers; Royals' postseason hopes going down to wire

Evan Kling unloads on one of his two home runs for Dos Pueblos. Kling had four RBI in the 12-1 victory. Click to view larger
Evan Kling unloads on one of his two home runs for Dos Pueblos. Kling had four RBI in the 12-1 victory. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Dos Pueblos took care of business in its Channel League baseball finale and clinched a CIF playoff berth in the process on Friday.

San Marcos, meanwhile, still has some work to do if it wants to finish in the top three in the Channel League standings and make the postseason.

That’s how things shook out after the Chargers routed the Royals 12-1 at Joe Mueller Field.

Dos Pueblos (18-8-1 overall) won its last four league games to finish at 7-4-1. The Chargers are in second place and can finish no worse than third when the season ends. San Marcos is 5-4 and has three games left against first-place Ventura (6-2-1) next week. Santa Barbara is 6-4 with two games remaining against last-place Buena.

“(Coach) has been talking about that for probably a week now,” said DP designated hitter Evan Kling of the importance of winning out in league. “If we want to make the playoffs, this is where we need to step up and play like a team and do what we do best and show them who we really are.”

Kling did his part. He belted two home runs, a two-run blast to right field to start the scoring in the first inning and a solo shot to right in the seventh to cap the day for Dos Pueblos. He also had a run-scoring sacrifice fly during a three-run fifth inning, giving him four RBI in the game.

Davey Demeter lays down a bunt, which he beat out for a single in the Chargers’ three-run fifth inning. Click to view larger
Davey Demeter lays down a bunt, which he beat out for a single in the Chargers’ three-run fifth inning. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

“It was nice,” Kling said of jumping on the Royals right away. “Our coach told us we needed to get some runs on the board early, so I was just looking for a pitch to drive. I got a fastball inside.”

Davey Demeter went 3-for-3 and scored three runs and Nico Martinez was 2-3 with three RBI, two coming during a six-run sixth inning that blew the game open. Mason Boelter was 2-4, with a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the fifth and a RBI single in the sixth.

Pepper said starter Mason Metcalfe struggled to keep his pitches down against the hard-hitting Chargers. “He didn’t get the ball down near the knees very often. He got a couple of calls down there, but this team is just too good of hitters and they jump on the opportunity to hit fastballs as they showed. They hit a lot of balls hard today and the few balls they didn’t hit very hard seemed to find holes or caused us to make errors.”

Starter Darby Naughton recorded the win for DP, going five innings and allowing one run on six hits, two walks and a hit batter. Jake McBride and Julian Amador finished the job.

“We’re hitting our stride right now, which is really good,” said Kling.

“If we just got a lead early, we really felt confident that would be able to carry it for the rest of the game,” DP coach George Hedricks said of jumping on the Royals. “Any time you can get on the board early it takes pressure off your pitcher, off your defense, off the rest of the lineup. Colter (Nisbet) gets out to lead off the game and here comes Davey with a line-drive single and Evan right there behind him. That was huge.”

The Chargers made it 3-0 in the second off Metcalfe. Nico Martinez hit a one-out single and went to third on Dylan Kelley’s double. A grounder to short by Kevin Barker brought in Martinez for the third run.

San Marcos threatened in the fourth and fifth, loading the bases in both innings.  But the Royals scored only once on a wild pitch in the fourth. Ryan Guardino, who was hit by a pitch and moved to third on singles by Metcalfe and Thomas Hantgin, came home on the wild pitch. Naughton got a fly out for the second out, reloaded the bases with a walk and induced the next batter to hit a comebacker for the final out. 

“We’ve struggled with getting runners on and, of course, we get two innings with bases loaded and less than two outs,” San Marcos coach Jacob Pepper said. “In both situations, we’re just looking for someone to make things happen and today it didn’t work out that way. They obviously hit the ball a ton. It was exactly what we didn’t want to happen.”

Shortstop Isaac Coffey flips to second baseman Davey Demeter to get a force out at second base. Click to view larger
Shortstop Isaac Coffey flips to second baseman Davey Demeter to get a force out at second base. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

In the fifth, Louie Shalhoob singled and stole second, Kyle Gonzalez walked and Guardino singled to load the bases again for the Royals. But Naughton pitched out of the jam, getting a strikeout and a pop out to third base.

“That’s just Darby,” Hedricks said of the senior’s ability to pitch out of jams.

“I don’t get nervous when he’s out there, even though I might feel it in my heart. But you don’t see me running to the bullpen. I know he’s going to pitch out of it. He did it again today. Back-to-back bases-loaded innings is enough for me to lose my hair. There’s always a way he’s going to work out of it somehow.”

Hedricks said he’s actually letting his hair grow out while the team is on a five-game winning streak.

"It's a lot longer than I usually have it," he said. "It's superstition, man. I've got guys using the same batting gloves even though they're ripped.

"It's baseball. You don't mess with a streak in baseball. “I can’t cut my hair. I have to suck it up and let my hair grow out."

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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