By the time the bottom of the fourth inning arrived in Vandenberg Village, Cabrillo started figuring out Morro Bay on the mound – then proceeded to smash the baseball.
Jessie Navarro ripped a double to center field while facing two outs that drove two runners in, then Tony Hernandez blasted a solo home run over the left field fence while facing another two-out scenario in the bottom of the sixth – both helping lead to the 9-0 rout of the Pirates on Thursday.
The game was closely knotted at 1-0 for the first four innings before the Conquistadores (14-14 overall, 11-8 in the Los Padres League) found their groove at the plate. Head coach Jon Osborne felt his hitters started to be patient at the plate, then take their swings at the right moment.
“I just think that when you get a second or third look at a pitcher, guys can get a better read on the pitcher and what his pitching patterns are,” Osborne said. “I think our guys picked that up and we squared some balls up, which was good.”
The win was a rebound for the Conqs from their last showing against the Pirates at Morro Bay on Tuesday, when Cabrillo fell 2-1 and committed three errors in the loss.
The bottom of the fifth was when the Conqs buried the Pirates (10-17, 9-10 in the LPL). Izzy Hernandez started things off with a base hit to center. Then the winning pitcher Noah Randolph drove two runners home with his RBI single, turning the lead to 5-0. Joseph Sousa pounded a sacrifice fly to center field that brought Randolph home, giving the Conqs their final run of the inning and making it 6-0.
Tony Hernandez took the biggest swing of the game, as his home run blast became his second of the season.
“Honestly with two strikes, I just tried to put the ball in play. That was just a bonus – the ball going over the fence,” Hernandez said, who added that Morro Bay came after him with a curve ball, two knuckleballs and a fastball – the latter pitch getting sent flying over the fence.
Izzy Hernandez hit a double that brought Cameron Binnebose home. Then the senior Hernandez scored the final run of the day.
Randolph pitched in all seven innings, allowing just three hits. The junior gave his most credit to the Conqs’ infielders and outfielders.
“Our defense is amazing and awesome,” Randolph said. “They always make plays and we can’t ask for anything more.”
It’s the fifth time this season that Cabrillo won a game by surrendering zero runs. With two games left on the regular season and city rival Lompoc now on deck for next Tuesday at home and Wednesday at LHS, Osborne hopes to see one thing he’s yet to watch consistently from the black and gold this season.
“I would like to win some close games,” Osborne said. “We’ve lost some one-run games and it would be nice to win some of those close ones. We’ve got to do a better job of trying to score one more run or put four or five runs on the board when we can because it makes it easier for us to hit and play defense.”