SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo Blues played their final two home games of the season this week, one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. The season didn’t go quite as well as the Blues would have hoped, but was still filled with great performances. Coming into Tuesday’s game against the Ventura Halos the season series between the two teams was split at two game apiece. The Halos won both of the first two matchups between the teams with the Blues winning the last two. However, the four games are hardly a series seeing as the two teams never played each other on back on to back nights.
The Blues had three all-stars on their team this season, infielder Price Visintainer of University of Alabama Birmingham, infielder Ricky Martinez of Sacramento State, and Templeton alum and current Gonzaga Bulldog, Mac Lardner. According to the Blues website, Visintainer is tied for the team lead in home runs (2), a position he holds with two other players. Visintainer is currently batting with a .320 average and also has more plate appearances than anyone else on the roster. Martinez is just barely behind Visintainer with 111 plate appearance and a .292 average.
On defense, both players have scooped nearly everything hit their way. Aside from their numbers, both players have performed in clutch moments this season, and continued to do so in their second to last home game. Tuesday, with two runners on, a two-run lead and only one out, third basemen Tate Samuelson fielded a sharply hit ball and threw it to Visintainer who effortlessly turned it into beautiful 5-4-3 double play, jumping over the sliding runner in the process.
However, the best defensive play of the game didn’t come from a player, but a dad in the stands. In the top of the seventh inning, a Halo player fouled a ball behind home plate, and heads instantly looked up to heavens in search of the ball. As it became obvious who the ball was going to fall too, everyone zeroed in on someone’s dad who, beer-in-hand, without a glove, backhanded the foul ball, saving his daughter and his beer in the process. The stands quickly greeted him with praise and the loudest ovation of the evening.
Martinez led off the sixth inning for the Blues with a stand up double hit to center field. Outfielder Justin Beck was next up to bat, and laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Martinez to third. Beck flew down the line, forcing the defender to rush his throw, resulting in it bouncing off the fence ten feet behind first base. Always paying attention, Martinez came home to score on the wild throw, giving the Blues a 3-0 lead.
Lardner pitched 33 innings for the Blues this season with an earned run average of 1.89. Lardner was also the Blues fans number hot sauce supplier this season, distributing 39 in total on the season.
The stands were full and lively on Tuesday with more than 1,000 baseball-thirsty fans attendance. It was one of the largest crowds the Blues have had the season, seven games have brought more than 1,000 fans with two of them being the firework games and one being opening day.
Jack Schneider got the start for the Blues, and was the only pitcher needed to put away the Halo’s. Schneider pitched a complete game shutout, and only allowed six hits in the process. Schneider was pitching extremely efficiently needing fewer than ten pitches to make it out of some innings. After 27 outs, Schneider had only dished out 101 pitches.