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Golden West Falls to Santa Ana in Game Two

Golden West Falls to Santa Ana in Game Two

Huntington Beach, CA - Golden West baseball (30-13, 15-6 OEC) fell to the Santa Ana Dons (31-12-1, 15-6 OEC) in game two of the super regionals, 3-14. 

Fred Hoover Field hosted a double-header event for the 3C2A Super Regional Round of the postseason bracket on Thursday. The No. 3 Rustlers welcomed the No. Santa Ana Dons and the No. 10 Santa Barbara Vaqueros. Three teams would enter the weekend tournament but only one team would survive on Saturday to keep their State Champion aspirations alive. The weekend began with game one between the Vaqueros and Dons. The loser of the matchup played the Rustlers at 3pm later in the day. 

Santa Barbara stunned the reigning 3C2A Champions Santa Ana Dons as the Vaqueros plated seven in the top of the second inning. The Vaqueros piled it on the Dons to win 18-1. Santa Barabara rode out the victory and sent the Dons to play the Rustlers in a back-to-back afternoon appearance. For a 3pm start, Golden West hosted Santa Ana as the Dons faced elimination.

The 2024 Orange Empire Conference Champions took on the 2023 champs in an elimination game for Santa Ana. Conference Head Coach of the year Andrew Ramos began the Super Regionals with left handed pitcher AJ Hernandez. The Rustlers defense did not help their pitcher in the top of the first as a dropped pop fly and throwing error lead way for a bases loaded opportunity for the Dons. A nightmare start for Golden West occurred with a no-out first inning grand slam as Santa Ana took an early lead, 0-4. 

After a quiet first inning by the Rustlers offense, the home team put runners on base. Back-to-back walks issued to Dylan Lina and Jack Salmon put two runners on for Golden West. However with two runners on and two outs, Robert Castillo hit it too hard right at the center fielder for the final out of the second inning. In the third, the Rustlers and Rocco Caballero flashed the leather. On a blooper down the right field line, Caballero made a diving catch and made a quick exchange on a slow roller for the final out. 

In the bottom of the fourth, Andrew Kirchner broke up the no-hit bid by Dons starting pitcher Jaxton Andeel. Zech Samayao and Kirchner performed an excellently timed double steal to put two runners in scoring position for the OEC co-player of the year, Salmon. The right fielder laced a two-RBI single to right center field to cut the deficit in half, 2-4. An inning later, Golden West applied more damage to the scoreboard. Kaleb Duncan led off the inning with a walk as Ayden Garcia followed with a walk as well. Samayoa helped his team come within one with a RBI knock to left field with Duncan able to cross home, 3-4. 

Golden West asked for trouble in the top of the seventh and got it as Santa Ana put up six in the frame off of only one hit, 3-10. The Rustler were unable to make a comeback and dropped game two of the Super Regionals, 3-13. Salmon was one of two Rustlers to have two hits as he went 2-3 with two RBIs and a walk. Kirchner also collected two knocks with his 2-4 day as he scored once. Samayoa earned the other RBI as he went 1-3 with a run scored. Hernandez began the afternoon with his three innings pitched and a strikeout. Grant Faris took over for 3.1 frames and struck out three. Golden West will now face elimination Friday as they play Santa Barbara City. 

UP NEXT: The Rustlers will face off against the Santa Barbara City Vaqueros on Friday, May 10th. First pitch will be at 11am.