Catch Split Series, but Miss Out on Playoffs

Game Recap 7/24/16 from So. Cal. FCA Baseball on Vimeo.


By Keaton A. Moore – Sports Information

La Mirada, CA- Despite splitting a four-game series with the best team in the California Collegiate League, the Southern California Catch are officially out of the Wild Card race due to their 4-9 defeat at the hand of the Academy Barons.

With hopes to shake off his tough July performance, starting pitcher Zach Clinton (Liberty University) took the mound for the Catch. Although the Barons took a 1-0 lead over the Catch from an RBI fielder’s choice, stellar defense held the damage to one run in the bottom of the first. With two outs, a deep fly ball was hit over the head of the Catch’s centerfielder, but Southern California caught the Barons in a sloppy base running situation and tagged the third out between third base and home plate.

The Catch’s first real threat of the game came after the first seven batters were sat down by the Barons’ starting pitcher. Southern California put men on first and second from consecutive walks, but stranded both after a pair of strikeouts. The Catch’s first hit of the game came with one-out and from the bat of first baseman Zach Malis (Grand Canyon University) in the top of the fourth.

The Catch continued to be held scoreless by the dominance of the Barons’ pitching staff, who retired another seven batters after Malis’ single. Southern California’s second hit of the game came in the top of the sixth when third baseman Johnny Weeks (University of Hawaii-Manoa) hit the first of back-to-back singles, the second of which was hit by Malis. However, the Catch’s rally amounted to nothing as they were held scoreless by the Barons through six innings.

A razor-thin game was blown open by the Barons in the bottom of the sixth. A throwing error to start the inning, eventually scored as Clinton left the mound after giving up a bases loaded walk. Things only spun out of control for the Catch, who fell victim to a pair of RBI singles and two RBI doubles, which drove in six runs before the first out of the inning.

Southern California caught a break when the Baron, who hit the second RBI double, was called out after not touching first on his way to second and two quick outs ended the inning. With a sacrifice fly for the second out, the Barons capped their eight run inning and took a 9-0 lead over the Catch.

It was not until the top of the seventh, when designated hitter Robert Bultena (Undecided) stole his way to third after a single, that the Catch spoiled the Barons’ shut out. With an errant throw from the shortstop, Bultena scored and placed the Catch eight runs behind the Academy. Although the Catch plated three from another errant throw and a ground out, in the end Southern California fell to the Academy 4-9.

Meanwhile, the Conejo Oaks knocked the Catch out of the Wild Card race as they outlasted the Ventura Halos’ ninth inning rally to beat them 10-8. With two games left in the season and now 3.5 games back to the Oaks, Southern California’s playoff-drought continues through their fourth season.

The Catch take their last road trip of the year to face the Oaks on Tuesday, July 26 at 4:30 p.m.