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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 8:37 pm | Fair 53º

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Santa Barbara, Gowdy Escape With 1-0 Win in CIF Playoff Opener

Santa Barbara ace Kevin Gowdy threw a 3-hit shutout in the first-round of the CIF playoffs.
Santa Barbara ace Kevin Gowdy threw a 3-hit shutout in the first-round of the CIF playoffs.  (Noozhawk file photo)

After going hitless for five innings, Santa Barbara High scraped together a couple of hits and scored a run in the sixth inning, and ace Kevin Gowdy made it stand up for a 1-0 victory at Bellflower in a first-round game of the CIF Division 2 baseball playoffs on Tuesday.

The UCLA-bound Gowdy threw a three-hitter, striking out 11. He stranded a Bellflower baserunner at third base in the sixth inning and made big defensive play on an attempted squeeze play in the seventh to end the game.

Santa Barbara will next face fourth-seeded Mission Viejo in the second round on Tuesday at Eddie Mathews Field. Mission Viejo beat Downey, 4-3,  in 10 innings.

"This has been a familiar script for us this season," remarked Santa Barbara coach Donny Warrecker of the low-scoring win.  "Kevin is dominant and keeps us in the game and the offense struggles to get him any run support.  Today, though, we put together a hit batter, Caleb's base hit, and Joe came through with two outs."

It's been an exceptional week for the Warreckers. Tuesday's victory was Donny's first playoff win as a head coach and four days earlier he became a first-time father. He and his wife, Kahea, welcomed their first child on Sunday. Also, his father, Fred, was inducted into the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame on Monday night.

"This will be hard to top," he said of the week as he boarded the bus for the long ride back to Santa Barbara.

With one out, Gowdy (5-3) gave up a single to Anthony Garcia in the bottom of the seventh. Garcia stole second and advanced to third when catcher Samsun Keithley's throw was dropped. Bellflower pitcher Ricky Ramos was the next batter and he tried to execute a squeeze bunt. Gowdy fielded the bunt and under-handed the ball to Keithley who tagged Garcia coming from third and then tagged Ramos, who inexplicably never ran.

Santa Barbara finally got to Ramos in the sixth. Lucas Grandcolas was hit by a pitch, Caleb Norton singled and Joe Firestone followed with a single to score Grandcolas for the game's only run.

Bellflower threatened in the bottom of the sixth, putting a runner at third with one out. Gowdy induced a comebacker and held the runner at third while getting the out. He ended the inning by striking out the next batter looking.

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

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