It was bright and early in the morning at Huntsinger Park as the coaches of Foothill and Hueneme High School exchanged lineup cards with the umpire for the second time in two days. Their first contest ended in the Dragons’ favor, as their boys’ varsity baseball team defeated the Vikings, scoring the game’s winning run in extra innings. On Saturday, Hueneme looked to flip the script and come away victorious, but the results were no different. Guided by a masterful performance from starting pitcher Dale Starr ‘17, Foothill swept the two game series and defeated the Vikings with a final score of 10-0.
Starr was sharp from the start, retiring the side in the top of the first inning while also tallying two strikeouts. The Vikings’ pitcher followed suit with a one-two-three inning of his own in the bottom half of the inning.
Hueneme came up empty in the second inning, as Starr replicated the previous inning and struck out two more batters. The Dragons threatened with a runner in scoring position in their half of the inning, as Ryan Tamburri ‘17 reached first base on a dropped third strike and advanced to third base on a stolen base and a fly ball. However, the Vikings’ starting pitcher prevented Tamburri from scoring with a strikeout to end the inning.
The third inning was no different for Hueneme, as Starr retired the side once more while recording another two strikeouts. The first hit for either side occurred in the Dragons’ half of the inning, as Dillon Gallagher ‘19 sent a ball into the gap which allowed Troy Lindemann ‘18 and Dylan Tamburri ‘17 to score, who both reached on errors. Jacob Bridges ‘18 followed with an RBI triple down the right field line, allowing Gallagher to score easily. Foothill added one more run in the inning when Starr hit a ground ball which scored his teammate Bridges. Starr was called out at first base, but the Dragons had extended their lead to 4-0.
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While Starr didn’t strike out any batters in the top of the fourth inning, he retired the side for the fourth time in as many innings. In the bottom of the inning, the Vikings removed their starting pitcher and went to their bullpen.
However, it didn’t seem to affect Foothill as Tyler Hong ‘20 led off with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball. His teammate Trey Casswell ‘18 provided a long at-bat and reached base as well, drawing a walk. As Casswell stole second base, the Hueneme catcher threw the ball over the head of the second baseman, allowing Hong to score while Casswell advanced to third. Zach Castro ‘17 drew a walk and attempted to steal second base as well. Castro was thrown out, but it allowed Casswell to score, stretching Foothill’s lead to 6-0.
Starr’s bid for a no-hitter ended in the fifth inning when the Vikings’ cleanup hitter led off with a single. The runner was quickly erased when the next batter hit a ground ball to Gallagher, who got the force out at second and threw the ball to Lindemann at first base to execute the double play.
Once again, the Dragons started their half of the inning with a hit, this time from Bridges. He proceeded to steal second and third base, and came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Ryan Tamburri. With two outs, Foothill loaded the bases with a single and two walks. Lindemann followed with a solid at-bat and eventually drew a walk, extending the lead to 8-0.
Hueneme attempted to start a rally in the sixth inning, but they couldn’t get a runner past first base. Starr only allowed a walk while the other three batters grounded out. For the Dragons, Gallagher drew a walk to start the bottom of the sixth and reached second on a wild pitch. He further advanced to third base when Bridges reached first base on a dropped third strike. Foothill scored their final runs of the game when Starr hit a single. Although he was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double, Gallagher and Bridges scored to extend the lead to 10-0.
Down to their final three outs, Hueneme sparked a rally in the seventh inning, loading the bases with one out. Starr struck out the final two batters, ending the threat and the game while pitching a complete game shutout. The Dragons headed back to the dugout with another win under their belts.
According to Starr, the team’s “poise and confidence in playing the game” helped them secure the victory. Gallagher also praised the team’s efforts and described them to be “amazing.”
“We didn’t roll over, we came out swinging strong,” he said.
When reflecting on his performance, Starr stated that he was “not at all” surprised at the outcome. He said that he “just let [the ball] fly” en route to the victory.
Head Coach Clint Ellison offered a similar reaction, saying that he “expects good things from Dale and from all our pitching staff.”
Starr finished with seven scoreless innings pitched, two hits allowed, ten strikeouts, and the win.
Regarding the offensive performance, Ellison attributed hitting drills and situational hitting to their success.
“[The team] is starting to buy into that philosophy, and good things happen when we can put the ball in play,” he said.
The win improves Foothill’s record to 5-5 on the season and extends their three-game winning streak.
On Wednesday, the Dragons will travel to Fillmore High School and face the Flashes, who are 2-5-1 on the year.
Ellison believes the key to preparing for the game is to “out-prepare” the Flashes. “We need to out-work, out-hit, out-field the rest of the guys,” he said.