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Kevin Gowdy Provides Offensive Punch in 3-0 Win over Dos Pueblos

Everyone knows about the big right arm of Santa Barbara High pitching ace Kevin Gowdy.

Gowdy can swing a potent bat, too.

The UCLA signee displayed his offensive ability in a key Channel League baseball game at Dos Pueblos on Tuesday. He hit a run-scoring double in the second inning and blasted a towering solo homer onto Cathedral Oaks in the sixth to go along with a 7-hit, complete-game pitching performance in a 3-0 Dons’ victory.

The win came a day after a tough 1-0 loss at San Marcos and improved the Dons’ records at 3-2 in league and 7-5 overall.

Dos Pueblos suffered its first loss in Channel League. The Chargers are 2-1 and 12-5.

The rivals play again on Friday at Eddie Mathews Field.

Gowdy doubled off DP starter Travis Craven to score Joe Firestone for a 1-0 lead. Firestone reached base on an error, advanced to second on a wild pitch and got to third on a single by Carter Soto. After Gowdy’s double, Soto scored the second run on a sacrifice fly to center by Tommy Holguin.

The homer came off Kevin Barker, who replaced Craven in the second inning after Craven felt discomfort in his elbow.

“He was pretty awesome with the bat coming through,” Santa Barbara coach Donny Warrecker said of Gowdy’s hitting. “He’s struggled with the bat, he’s been up and down, feast or famine He’s solidified his approach. We talked about zoning pitches. He’s starting to hunt his pitches.”

“It was exciting to get going,” Gowdy said of the run-scoring double. On the homer: “I knew he was coming back with a fastball.”

Gowdy said pitching with a lead made a big difference

“It was huge. Just knowing you can pitch with a lead is a lot different than pitching behind or pitching zero-zero. It takes a little pressure off and you can use your defense more, which is good.”

The Dons defense was stellar. It started with a well-executed relay from center field to nail DP’s Gio Macias, who was trying to reach third base after a booming shot to dead center field in the first inning.  Center fielder Joe Firestone threw to shortstop Holguin and he fired to third baseman John Jensen who made the tag.

“It is something we take a lot of pride in,” Warrecker said of the team’s defense. “The defense has been outstanding.  Joe Firestone, I felt, had a strong game in center field right off the bat. He covered a lot of ground. Lucas Grandcolas has been absolutely solid at second base and then Tommy Holguin ...  You go all the way around the infield and we have a really solid infield."

The defense frustrated Dos Pueblos when it needed a big hit.

“We put up good at-bats against Gowdy but he neutralized us in those tough situations,” said DP senior third baseman and Hawaii-bound Dustin Demeter. “We couldn’t get the job done, simple as that.”

DP coach George Hedricks felt his team hit better than the game it beat Gowdy and the Dons at Eddie Mathews Field last month

“I thought we did a better job today,” he said. “We hit a lot of balls hard. We didn’t get the breaks we needed.”

Gowdy and the Dons defense had a lot to do with it. Gowdy had great control. He scattered six hits, hit a batter but didn’t walk anyone and struck out six.

“You know he’s not going to put anybody on base for free,” Hedricks said. “They made the plays they needed to make today.”

This season, Gowdy has struck out 54 and walked only two.

“Just attack,” Gowdy said of going after the DP hitters. “I went inside more, which is something I didn’t do last game. They were kind of waiting over the plate last time and slapping the ball the other way.  I think going inside helped me today, just keeping them honest.”

DP received good outings from Barker and Julian Amador.

“I’m proud of my pitching staff today. They did a great job,” said Hedricks.

Warrecker was pleased how spirited his team played the game.

“They’re a good team and they’re really verbal,” he said of the Chargers. “I gave (my guys) full permission to be as enthusiastic and have as much fight in this. I felt like after the first inning, they became more aggressive and they loosened up, and we were meeting the challenge as opposed to backing down and being more tentative.”

He cited the play of first baseman Soto, who had three hits and knocked down a pair of hard grounders with his chest and made the putouts.

“He’s was really down yesterday,” Warrecker said. “We switched the lineup, moved him out of the four hole, and he got three hits. He took two balls off the chest and really was a vocal leader today. He really brought the team together.”

Jensen collected three hits for the Dons and Macias had a pair of hits for DP.

Santa Barbara…020 001 0 — 3 10 0
Dos Pueblos…000 000 0 — 0 7  5
WP:  Gowdy (2-2);  LP:  Craven (1-2)

2B—SB:  Gowdy.  DP:  Macias (2)
HR—SB:  Gowdy (2), 6th inn. none on

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