Moments after defeating rival Santa Barbara 7-1 on Friday afternoon the San Marcos baseball team discovered that Pacifica defeated Buena, which clinched the Royals’ third consecutive Channel League title.
For San Marcos coach Wes Ghan-Gibson, that makes three league championships in three seasons at the helm of the program and he expressed an immense amount of pride in the players that have lifted San Marcos baseball to new heights.
“These seniors right now are the definition of what we try to accomplish and the culture that we’re trying to create here,” Ghan-Gibson said. “ It’s having that work ethic and wanting to compete on the baseball field no matter if you’re not feeling well; wanting to compete and just enjoying this game, it’s a beautiful game and I’m really proud of that class.”
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the second inning, the Royals responded with three runs in the bottom of second inning to take a 3-1 lead. Brad Cekada led off the inning with a triple, he went 3-for-4 on the day, and Steven Bradley had a single that drove in two runs.
Brendon Cekada, Brad’s twin brother, went 2-for-4 and was excellent in center field.
“Those guys are work horses. Brendan has been on varsity for three years and Brad has been on varsity the past two years,” said Ghan-Gibson of the Cekada twins. “They lead by example, that’s who they are and they’ve given us so much.”
Santa Barbara loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the fourth inning, but San Marcos went to relief pitcher Erik Perez who induced a ground out to neutralize the threat.
The Royals broke open the game in the bottom of the fourth. Brendon Cekada had the big hit in the inning, a single up the middle that scored Steven Bradley and Caden Hodina. The next batter, Cole Schoenwetter, doubled down the left field line and Owen Estabrook followed with a single to left field that brought home Cekada, increased the San Marcos lead to 6-1
Schoenwetter, has embraced the opportunity to hit this season in addition to leading the Royals pitching staff and had a big game at plate with a triple, a double and a walk.
“I’ve got to do what I can to help this team win,” Schoenwetter said. “They put me in that three hole and they depend on me to get a hit. I went up there with the intent to hit the ball as hard as I could and I was able to do that twice. I thank Wes for all the help that he’s giving me with hitting because I didn’t hit for the last two years.”
Perez pitched out of another bases loaded jam in top of the sixth inning as Santa Barbara continued to squander opportunities to get back into the ball game.
“What I saw the whole game was a lack of intent, lack of conviction and a lack of a plan,” said Santa Barbara coach Steve Schuck. “They didn’t lose the game today, they lost it on Wednesday and Thursday at practice.”
San Marcos tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Brad Cekada singled through to left field to score Brendan Cekada, increasing the lead to 7-1.
With the victory, San Marcos improved to 17-5 overall, and 11-1 in Channel League play.