Terry Bernal/Daily Journal
Keone Cabinian through a five-hit shut out against one of the best hitting teams in the state in West Valley.
West Valley starter Robert Anderson entered as the headliner. But College of San Mateo freshman Keone Cabinian stole the show.
The Bulldogs cruised to a 3-0 win over West Valley Sunday at CSM behind a pitching gem by Cabinian. The freshman settled in to produce his lengthiest collegiate outing — and then some.
In just his second start since he was a high-school underclassman at De La Salle, Cabinian shut down one of the best hitting teams in Northern California to the tune of a five-hit shutout. The freshman struck out nine against two walks and three hit batsmen to improve to 2-1.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery as a high-school senior, it has been a long road back for Cabinian. His only previous start this season was a two-inning outing Feb. 22 in taking the loss against Feather River. But in three proceeding relief outings, the right-hander didn’t give up a run, including a four-inning stint March 22 against Chabot in which he struck out seven.
“We’ve been somewhat conservative with him in terms of pitch count, and let him build himself up to this point,” CSM manager Doug Williams said. “Last Saturday he threw very well in relief and earned himself that start. And he was outstanding [Sunday] with three pitches—the ball down—the great competitiveness which he has. It’s tough to pitch better than that.”
Anderson also went the distance in taking his first loss of the year, allowing three runs on four hits. The big 6-foot-4 sophomore, committed to transfer to University of Nevada-Reno, falls to 5-1.
“He won’t let me take him out of the game no matter what,” West Valley manager Rick Wiens said. “So, on his day to pitch, he’s going the distance.”
CSM scratched out a couple early runs against Anderson and the lead held up.
The Bulldogs got on the board in the second by virtue of one hit. Cleanup hitter Makana Lyman drew a leadoff walk. He moved to second on a single by Tyler Carlson then advanced to third on a fly ball off the bat of Steve Pastora. After Carlson stole second, a passed ball allowed Lyman to score and Carlson to advance to third. Then Allen Smoot produced a sacrifice fly to score Carlson, giving CSM a 2-0 lead.
In the sixth, the Bulldogs added an insurance run. Dylan Isquirdo drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a groundout. With two outs, Lyman singled to center to plate Isquirdo, giving CSM a 3-0 lead.
Cabinian did the rest, seeming to get stronger as the game breezed along. Completing the game in just under two hours, he set down seven of the last eight batters he faced.
“He commanded both sides of the plate with two pitches,” Wiens said. “He lived at the kneecaps. He took advantage of the strike zone. He stayed ahead. And he threw a great game.”
Wiens said he had no scouting report on Cabinian going into the game. But West Valley hasn’t had much of a problem figuring out opposing pitchers this season, ranking fourth in the state with a .307 team batting average. However, the loss of one of the Vikings’ leading hitters in sophomore shortstop Trevor DeMerritt, who underwent back surgery in February, looms large. DeMerritt was hitting .393 when he was shut down.
On the heels of Cabinian’s masterful outing, Williams said the freshman has absolutely earned himself another turn in the rotation. It has been a long time coming as Cabinian didn’t pitch his final two seasons at De La Salle due to the elbow injury.
“I was worried,” Cabinian said. “It was hard getting back. I missed playing the game. But I’m here now and I’m happy to be here.”
With the win, CSM (9-3 in Coast Golden Gate Conference, 15-9 overall) remains in sole possession of second place in the Coast Golden Gate two games back of first-place Chabot.