Catch Win Nail-biter for First League Victory

2015 Catch Game 9 Recap from So. Cal. FCA Baseball on Vimeo.

By Myles Bridgewater-Jackman, Sports Information Director

Compton, Calif. -- In the first league matchup of the Catch’s 2015 season, So. Cal. won a nail-biter against the Academy Barons by a score of 5-4, propelled by Jeremy Barth’s (Biola University) three RBIs.

After starting off the season with a 4-5 performance in game one, Cooper Esmay (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) struggled to continue his offensive success through the next seven games, going 2-16. However, the third baseman lead off the Catch’s first league game of the season with a hard hit liner past a jumping Academy shortstop for a first inning single. Josh Rojas (University of Hawaii) then laid down a bunt to move Esmay up to second, but was also able to reach base safely as the Baron starter, Nick Sanchez, could not field the ball cleanly. KC Huth (West Virginia University) bunted to advance the runners once again, but this time Sanchez fielded the ball cleanly and threw on to first for the first out of the inning. Jeremy Barth then stepped to the plate with two runners in scoring position. Barth lifted a fly ball deep to left center which stayed in the park but allowed Esmay to come in and score the first run of the game.

The Barons came right back to match the Catch top half of the inning with a run of their own. An early inning error came back to bite So. Cal. as a ball off of the bat of Keyon Allen, grounded to Josh Barrick (Liberty University) at short, was thrown off line and pulled Barth off of the bag at first. The next batter, Larry Barraza rocketed a ball all the way to the wall in right center, which sent the speedy Allen motoring home. Huth came in sliding in to get the ball and threw it back to the cutoff man who fired on to Esmay at third. By the time Barraza reached third, Esmay was standing there waiting for the Baron second baseman and tagged him out.

Both teams’ bats got quiet for an inning but scoring resumed in the third for the Catch.

Esmay looked like he was in line for his second base hit of the day, but after his hard grounder was bobbled and recovered, the throw on to first was in time to retire the leadoff man. Rojas made his way to first via one-out walk, and Huth took his base on a pitch that came in and hit him in the bicep.

With runners at first and second, Barth knocked his first hit of the day through the left side, driving in Rojas. Christian Magno (Drury University) worked a walk to load the bases for Cameron Miller (Baylor University). Miller delivered a single to center, plating Huth for the third So. Cal. run of the game, but Barth held at third, not wanting to test the arm of Allen in center.

Barth had an opportunity to come in to score on a sac fly to left, but was unable to get a good jump from third and played it safe. The inning ended one batter later with the bases loaded.

So. Cal. placed another two on the board the following inning. Julian Flanary (Miami University, OH) lead off with a shallow pop to left-center. Left fielder, Maxey came sliding in but could not make a play on the ball. Flanary swiped second and advanced to third on a passed ball before Cooper Esmay worked a walk to make his way to the basepaths. Flanary came in to score during the next at bat as a passed ball rolled all the way to the screen.

Esmay then took third during KC Huth’s at bat who eventually walked. Huth made his way to second on indifference and then Barth drove in his third run of the game on an unusual sacrifice to make the score 5-1.

Barth softly chopped the ball to the right side of the pitcher’s mound, Nick Sanchez tipped the ball with his glove, and second baseman, Barraza, dove for the ball as it was redirected. He acquired control and then threw on to first just in time to nip Barth.

Catch starter, Nicholas Cumpston, (Eastern Kentucky) was blazing through batters but in the fourth, Academy Barons’ first baseman got to him, netting the Catch starter’s first earned run of the season. Aaron Cisneros turned on a 2-1 pitch to right field that looked like it would stay in the park, however, the ball stayed up and floated over the fence, as well as jumping Richard Cunningham (Baylor University), for a home run.

The So. Cal. starter ran into some command issues in the fifth and the the Barons capitalized, continuing their comeback. Trent Hammond ripped a hard hit ball to Christian Magno which ate up the second baseman and continued on into right. Two batters later, Daniel Moriel launched a hard single off the wall in right sending Hammond on to third. Cumpston fell behind 3-1 to JC Peralta who then rocketed a double down the right field line, just inside the chalk. The ball rolled all the way into the corner, plated Hammond, but Moriel held at third, being the only thing preventing the hustling Peralta from reaching third. The next batter, Keyon Allen, popped a ball to short right field for an RBI single, cutting the Catch lead to one. After a meeting on the mound, Cumpston intentionally walked Barraza to put the double play ball in effect. The plan worked to perfection, as Martin Teague hit a one hopper right back to Cumpston who threw back to his batterymate to start the inning ending 1-2-3 double play.

Both sides were set down in order during the sixth and no batter from either team made it past first in the final three innings. After Michael Shaw (Azusa Pacific University) worked two innings to notch a hold, Jason Kim (Point Park University) entered in the ninth to retire the side in order and record his third save of the season.

Up Next: The Catch look to lock up the series win Wednesday against the Barons at Biola University. First pitch is slated for 5 o’clock.