The left-handed Kyle Spink struck out five and allowed two hits in 4.2 innings for Dos Pueblos. Credit: Lisa Ishikawa photo

The Dos Pueblos pitching tandem of Kyle Spink and Joe Talarico combined on a three-hitter against Santa Barbara High and made a first-inning run stand up for a 1-0 win in a Channel League baseball game on a sunny Friday at Scott O’Leary Field.

It was the second Friday in a row the Chargers took down a crosstown rival in a low-scoring game. Last week, they shut down San Marcos for a 3-2 win.

Dos Pueblos improves to 4-3 in league while Santa Barbara is 5-2, dropping the Dons out of a first-place tie with San Marcos and Buena. 

Santa Barbara will host the second game of the league series on April 4.

The crafty Spink earned Friday’s victory. In 4.2 innings, the lefty allowed a pair of hits, two walks and hit a batter, and struck out five. The hard-throwing Talarico fanned two Dons and gave up one hit in 2.1 innings for the save.

Joe Talarico finished the game for the Chargers, striking out two and getting a ground out in the seventh inning. Credit: Lisa Ishikawa photo

“There’s nothing similar about them,” said DP coach George Hedricks of his senior pitchers. “Kyle is extremely good at keeping hitters off balance. He can throw all three pitchers at any time.”

Spink got the first two outs in the fifth on a strikeout and a fly ball to center. But Hedricks felt it was time to change things up and bring in Talarico to face lead-off batter Dane Dawson.

“We felt like it was a good change going to Dawson, who’s a really good hitter,” the coach explained. “Even with two outs and nobody on, we wanted to give him a different look, and he put a good swing on the ball (in his previous at-bats).

“But Joe came in and really filled up the zone, and throwing with a totally different look and velocity compared to Spink.”

Talarico did his job, inducing a ground ball to first baseman Kevin Wirtz to end the fifth.

He retired the next four Dons before Liam Keithley singled with one out in the seventh and moved to second on wild pitch. 

Talarico notched his second strikeout of the inning before pinch hitter Jetner Welch reached base on an error by the shortstop and then stole second.

With the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, Talarico finished the game for the Chargers as he got the final batter to bounce out to Wirtz.

The first baseman did a nice job, backing up behind the bag to field the ball and then making the putout himself.

“He’s an extremely good defensive first baseman,” said Hedricks. “He’s the guy you want the ball hit to.”

The Dos Pueblos run came after one out in the first inning. Luke Varesio doubled down the left-field line and scored on a single up the middle by Talarico. An infield error and a hit batter put Jesse Di Maggio and Xander Hajda aboard to load the bases. But Anthony regrouped and got the next two outs on a liner to third and pop fly to shortstop.

Anthony was terrific for the next four innings. He allowed just three baserunners, two on base hits and the other a hit batter. He finished the game allowing one run on three hits, with no walks and three strikeouts.

“We’ve seen Anthony before, so we knew he’s a very good pitcher,” said Hedricks. “He throws a lot of strikes and keeps you off balance. I think we were lucky to get some runners on that inning.

“Credit to them for pitching out of that jam. That was really good job by Anthony in that situation, but I was happy to see us get going in the first.”

Keithley pitched the sixth for the Dons and gave up one hit and made a nice reaction catch on a line drive.

Eric Anthony gave up one run and four hits in five innings for Santa Barbara. Credit: Lisa Ishikawa

“He was fine,” said Santa Barbara coach Steve Schuck of Anthony’s performance. “He competed. Liam came in and did exactly what I thought he would do.”

Schuck said he was disappointed with his team’s offense.

“You just got to put the ball in play with two strikes,” he lamented. “We had an error or two, they had two errors. It’s high school baseball, the ball is going to get kicked around. So just put the ball in play.

“We work on it every single day. You’d think we’ve never done this before by the way we swung it today. But, it’s one of those days.”

Hedricks was relieved that one run was enough to win the game.

“Sometimes one run is enough. I don’t like that. It’s a little hard to sit on that one. But, again, credit to our guys for pitching and keeping (Santa Barbara) off the board.

“Just a very good ballgame.”

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Barry Punzal, Noozhawk Sports Editor

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