After going 1-2 during its three-day Spring Class Tournament last week, the Hancock baseball team will return to Western State Conference play with four games over five days beginning Tuesday, April 18, at place Moorpark College. The Bulldogs will host Ventura on Thursday and Moorpark on Friday. Both games will start at 2:30 p.m. Hancock will close the week with a 1 p.m. game at Ventura.
To open the week, Moorpark (9-5, 17-17) is half a game behind first place Santa Barbara (10-5,20-14). Ventura is in third place at 8-7 in conference and 18-17 on the season. The Bulldogs are in fifth place, 4.5 games behind the Vaqueros.
Last week during the annual Spring Classic, the Bulldogs carried a 10-5 lead into the eighth innings, but the Huskies scored six times against the Hancock bullpen to win 11-10. Dylan Maiden (Cabrillo HS) went 3-for-4 with two triples, 3 RBI and three runs. Chris Taitague (Lompoc HS) and Chad Jones (Faith Lutheran HS) both went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI in the loss. The Bulldogs bounced back with a 14-7 win over Fresno, the No. 13 team in the state. Josh Harmonay (Faith Lutheran HS), Jones and Ryan Peinado (St. Joseph HS) had four hits apiece to lead Hancock's 18-hit attack. Harmonay had 2 RBI. Jones scored four times, and Peinado had 2 RBI and scored twice. The Bulldogs also drew eight walks. Sophomore Wyatt Standley (Ferndale HS) earned the win with 6 2/3 innings of solid relief with six strikeouts. The Bulldogs managed just three hits in an 8-1 loss to Cerritos last Thursday. Harmonay hit a RBI-double. Phillip Martin (Cabrillo HS) allowed five runs and seven hits over six innings for the Bulldogs.
Hancock split its two meetings with both Ventura and Moorpark last month. The Bulldogs won a 7-6, 16-inning battle with the Pirates before falling 4-3 at Ventura. Hancock fell 7-3 at home last month to Moorpark before winning 11-3 on the road thanks to three hits and 4 RBI by Maiden. Harmonay and Daniel Curiel (Righetti HS) had two hits apiece to support Walker Armstrong (St. Joseph HS), who struck out eight in seven innings of work, in that 11-3 victory.
Armstrong leads the conference's North Division with a 2.01 ERA and sits third among conference pitchers with 65 strikeouts. Harmonay and freshman catcher Nash Ackerman (Arroyo Grande HS) are tied for third in conference with 23 RBI. Harmonay also ranks tenth with a .297 batting average.
Ventura's Elijah Alexander leads the conference with a .353 batting average to go with 17 walks and 15 RBI.