Transfer sophomore Justin Friedman made a strong case for Western State Conference pitcher of the year Thursday, pitching a six-hit shutout over conference champion Santa Barbara in the Pirates' season finale at Pirate Park. The University of San Diego signee struck out eight Vaqueros, hanging nine zero's on the board for the victory, pushing VC into a third place tie in the final conference standings. The day will also be remembered as longtime skipper Don Adams' final game as manager of the Pirates.
Friedman was sharp all afternoon long, backed up by a solid defensive effort by the Pirates (20-20, 10-10). He faced just 31 batters on the day, allowing six base runners. Santa Barbara only advanced one runner past second base on the day as Friedman ended the season with a record of 8-2.
Bryson Wallet was 3-4 in the game with an RBI and a run scored and Rodolfo Aguilar had two hits and scored a run. Blake Chiaramonte had a pair of hits, scored once and drove in a run while Elijah Alexander doubled and scored two runs.
Ventura took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Aguilar had a one-out single, then moved to second on Chiaramonte's walk. An out later, Wallet delivered the big two-out hit with an RBI single.
In the sixth, the Pirates doubled their advantage. Alexander drew a base on balls and Kaden Betsch sacrificed him to second. After the second out, Shane Gipson doubled to score Alexander, giving VC a 2-0 lead.
VC broke things open with a six-run eighth inning. Wallet singled and Alexander doubles to start the rally. Betsch was hit by a pitch and T.J. Durfee walked in a run. All the runners moved up a base with Alexander scoring on a wild pitch, then Gipson re-loaded the diamond as he was also hit by a pitch. Chris McKee then singled in Betsch before the first out of the frame. The runners all advanced on another wild pitch, with Durfee crossing the plate. Chiaramonte had an RBI single to score Gipson before Brendan Griffith hit a sacrifice fly to center field to plate McGee. The rally made the final score 8-0.
During the seventh inning stretch, the Pirates honored the 22-year head coaching career of Don Adams, who is retiring at the end of the season. His 39-years of contributions to Pirate baseball and Pirate athletics as a student athlete, assistant coach, head coach, and many other duties were highlighted as the skipper was joined on the field by VC Hall of Famer Gary Anglin and many of Adams' colleagues within the athletic department, in addition to both teams. It was a fitting tribute as the Pirates sent the manager off into retirement with a solid victory to finish the season.
Longtime Ventura College baseball coach Don Adams tips his cap during a tribute during the seventh-inning stretch of Thursday's season finale at Pirate Park.