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Former Santa Ynez star Zach Torra is an All-American

Former Santa Ynez star Zach Torra is an All-American

Former Santa Ynez High School star Zach Torra's numbers were good enough during the truncated 2020 baseball season that Torra earned All-American honors.

Torra was 3-0 with a 0.36 ERA in four starts for UC Santa Barbara before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the NCAA to cancel the rest of the season for all spring sports.

Torra, a junior left-hander for UCSB, was named to the 2020 Collegiate Baseball Division I All-American Third Team. The Gauchos were 13-2 before the rest of their season was called off.

"I was a little surprised about the selection since we only got to play 15 games this year," said Torra.

"I didn't even know they were going to make All-American selections. It's an honor to be chosen for that."   

He allowed one earned run in 2020. That shortened season was his first at UCSB. Torra pitched for Cuesta College and Hancock College before that.

The jump from junior college to Division I didn't seem to faze him, though he was well aware it was, indeed, a big jump.

"Division I is the best overall competition I've ever faced," Torra said earlier this year. "Before we beat Oregon State, we beat UCLA. Those schools were the real deal."    

The left-hander kept the opposition scoreless in three of his four 2020 starts. In his 25.1 innings pitched, opposing batters hit a combined .133 against him.

Torra struck out 39 of the 83 batters he faced during the shortened season. In a Feb. 29 appearance against the University of Illinois at Chicago, Torra struck out a dozen, and allowed one hit and no runs in his seven innings of work. 

He led Cuesta to the 2019 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Playoffs. Torra pitched a team-high 80.2 innings and had a team-high 13 starts.

Torra also led the Cougars' staff in strikeouts. He struck out 84. Torra went 5-5, with a 2.57 ERA which was second best on the team. He earned All-Western State Conference Second Team honors.

The 2.57 ERA ranks 10th all-time for a single season at Cuesta.

Now, Torra is trying to make due with individualized workouts. Team workouts statewide were scrubbed in March because of the pandemic.

"I've been doing as much as I can to stay in throwing shape," Torra said. "I've been able to build a mound in the backyard to throw more." 

Torra pitched a five-hit complete game as a Santa Ynez sophomore in 2014, and the Pirates beat Sun Valley Village Christian 2-0 for the CIF Southern Section Division 5 championship.

He went 11-0 with an 0.53 ERA for a Santa Ynez squad that went 29-1 that year. The Pirates' lone loss was 4-0 to San Leandro in the Atascadero Tournament.

Torra went 11-2 with a 1.60 ERA his junior year. His senior year, Torra was 8-3 with a 0.87 ERA.

He was injured during his start against Riverside Woodcrest Christian in the first round of the playoffs that year and subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery.

After coming through that, Torra had a solid season for Hancock in 2018. He then pitched for Cuesta in 2019 and was having a big year at UC Santa Barbara earlier in 2020 before the pandemic short-circuited the season.

The NCAA subsequently restored that season of eligibility for athletes on all of its member teams.

As for the near future, "Everything is still up in the air for pre-season workouts, but I'm hoping everything returns back to normal for the fall," Torra said.     

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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