East County Sports

Stars wave goodbye to Wichita after loss to Santa Barbara

2018 SAN DIEGO STARS BASEBALL

NATIONAL BASEBALL CONGRESS WORLD SERIES

 



East County Sports.com staff writer
WICHITA, Kan. (8-10-2018) — Suffering the most extreme, heart-breaking of losses in the biggest ballgame of the summer, the San Diego Stars were eliminated from the National Baseball Congress World Series in the national quarterfinals, falling in walk-off fashion to the Santa Barbara Foresters, 7-6, Thursday (Aug. 9) at historic Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
 
The Stars moved to within one strike of advancing to the Final Four, but the crippled bullpen, which lost closer Michael Horton one batter into the bottom of the 9th inning, walked two batters and hit two others before  Ryan Cash registered an RBI single with the bases loaded,  scoring Brandon Lewis to cap the rally.
 

The Stars get ready for their semifinal game on Thursday in Wichita.

Santa Barbara (37-8), the NBCWS national champion four times over the past seven seasons, moves on to meet the upstart San Antonio Angels in the semifinals. The Angels are 8-0 and seek to become the first qualifier from the Week 1 event to gain an entry into the Week 2 main draw and reach the championship contest since the double-elimination format was dumped to encourage more out-of-town programs to participate.

 
The see-saw affair was tied at 4-all in the 8th inning when Stars shortstop Ryan Kouba slugged a 2-run, home run to left-center field.
 
Horton, who entered in the 5th inning, then set the Foresters down in order in the 8th. But then he, literally, went down when Santa Barbara’s lead batter singles to start the 9th. There was no official word on the injury, but the NBC trainer was obviously checking out Horton’s back.
 
A Stars relief pitcher quickly scrambled into the contest but was removed after just one pitch after hitting a batter. So a position player was called upon, yet couldn’t get out of the inning.
 
San Diego (27-8) concluded the national tournament in a 4-way tie for fifth place (along with the San Diego Waves), equaling the second-best finish in history. The Stars once finish third in 1999 after defeating the U.S. National Team.
 
An explosive 5th inning saw the Stars rally from a 2-run deficit with four runs to take the lead before Santa Barbara answered two a pair of markers to tie the ballgame.
 
San Diego third baseman Johnny Valdez quickly tied the contest with a 2-run homer, also scoring (Hinter Markel (1-out single. Then with two outs with Ryan Culp (infield single) and Dallas Seidel (single) to place runners on the corners, the Stars took the lead on a triple by left fielder Cabot Van Til.
The Stars reclaimed the lead with a 2-out rally in the 8th.
 
Hank Gonzalez walked, then Kouba went deep with his first homer as a member of the Stars. Earlier this year, Koupa was an all-star for Eastern Oklahoma State, leading the Mountaineers (44-17) to a berth in the NJCAA national championships after clinching the Region II crown.
 
Van Til and Valdez each finished with two hits.
 
Tristan Salinas and Adrian “Ty” Andrews paced all San Diego batters with at .385 (5-for-13), followed by Valdez (.375), then Val Til, Emilio Escobedo and Alex Golembiewski (.333).
 
Five Stars posted four RBI, including Dallas Seidel, for owner/manager Mickey Deutschman, a member of the National Semipro Baseball Hall of Fame who turned 75 later this month.

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