East County Sports

Stars’ Buckles has Bats’ buckling

2018 SAN DIEGO STARS BASEBALL

Special to East County Sports.com

SANTEE (6-9-2018) – Hailing from the sleepy desert town of Victorville, San Diego Stars pitcher Brandall Buckles found few college options, landing at San Diego Christian College. However, his success with the Hawks was limited to just a single save in 11 relief appearances – not exactly a resume to get drafted by the pros.

However, now pitching for the Stars, the new-look Buckles relishes his role as a starter. The right-hander carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, finishing with a 1-hitter in his five full innings, to pace the Stars to a 13-1 pounding of the Dove Tail Baseball Academy Bats, 13-1, Friday (June 8) at West Hills High.

Third baseman Joey Krug ignited the offense with a 2-run homer just three batters into the first for a 2-0 lead, then the Stars added six runs in the second and three more in the third to mount an 11-0 advantage.

In addition, shortstop Hunter Markel scored three times from the leadoff spot, while dazzling the crowd with several defensive gems – both fielding and throwing – to run San Diego’s record to 5-0 (3-0 in Western Baseball Association play). The Bats fell to 0-2 (0-1 WBA).

Buckles only tossed 9 1/3 innings for SDCC this past spring. But with members of the Hawks coaching staff present, the junior-to-be proved he can be dominating.

“Now there is a lot more pressure playing ball in college than playing summer ball with us,” said Stars owner/manager Mickey Deutschman. “But you could see how Buckles pitched with poise and confidence. He performed very well.”

The only run off Buckles came in the fifth, as Dove Tail’s D.J. Dhus (La Jolla Country Day/Wheaton College of Illinois) belted the first of his two doubles — the team’s lone hits until the final innings. A tiring Buckles then walked three to force Dhus home, yet completed the inning and receiving a huge ovation from the Stars dugout coming off the field.

“It was an excellent game by Buckles – and the entire team,” added the coach. “It was an excellent day.”

Meanwhile, Markel flashed his glove on several opportunities. Twice he ranged into the hole to recover the ball and throw Bats runners out at first, while once stealing a base hit up the middle for another out at first, this one scooped nicely by first baseman Shane Coleman.

In addition, Markel’s snag of a line drive in the seventh led to a double play, tossing to second baseman Ty Andrews to retire Dhus following his second double.
“Hunter wants to walk o at San Diego State,” Mickey D. noted. “He’s got way too much talent to not be playing ball somewhere next (college) season.”
Stars left fielder Alekzander DeLaCruz posted a 4-for-4 outing from the No. 9 slot in his first start of the season.
After stranding 18 runners in eight innings against the San Diego Mavericks on Thursday, the Stars left 10 more on base in six trips to the plate, as the team’s offense is starting to roll, posting double-figures in four of their first five ballgames.
The Stars continue their 15-game homestand on Sunday, host the Signature Baseball Academy Rays from the WBA North Division in a doubleheader, slated for noon at West Hills High. The Bats return to play the Stars on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

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