DeCook Lifts the Catch

It looked like the SoCal Catch was finally going to see their six-game winning streak come to an end. Then one swing changed everything. The Catch, playing host to the Bakersfield Sound in the first of a four-game series, walked off with a 4-3 victory Friday Night on a three-run walk-off homerun from Neil DeCook. Bakersfield scored three runs in the first off Catch starter Jesse Yancosek and lead the entire game until DeCook’s blast. Yancosek settled down after the first, allowing just two hits, a walk and a hit batter in his next five innings of work. Eric Moersen took over in the seventh and threw two scoreless innings. Derek O’Hanlon then came on and retired the side in the order in the top of the ninth.

The Catch simply could not get their offense going. They picked up their first run in the bottom of the fourth when Conor Smith reached on an error and later scored on a Chad Shannon two-out double. The Catch though had only five hits through the first eight innings and would never really threaten the Sound’s 3-1 lead until the ninth. Shannon lead off the inning with a double, then Davis Cantwell worked a walk to put runners at first and second. After TJ Hillman failed to move the runners over, bunting foul twice before striking out swinging, it brought DeCook to the plate with one out and two on. He did not waste any time. DeCook swung at the first pitch he saw from Sound reliever Ricky Torres, launching the belt-high fastball about 75 feet past the tall right field fence for a walk-off three-run homerun. There was no doubt about the blast either. DeCook took off slowly towards first, hands raised, pumping them when the ball finally left the yard. He then charged around the bases and into a mob of his teammates waiting at home plate.

O’Hanlon was credited with the win, his first of the season. Only four Catch players had hits in the game. DeCook, Shannon, and Jonathan Munoz each had a pair, while TJ Hillman went 1-4. It was DeCook’s second homerun of the season. With the win, the Catch moved to 22-18 on the season and finally has a winning record in league play at 15-14. The LA Brewers lost to the San Louis Obispo Blues Friday night, so the Catch sits just two games back in the CCL South division with seven to play. The last three games of the series against the Sound are this weekend, with a doubleheader Saturday (first game scheduled for 4:00 PM) and then the final game Sunday at 3:00 PM. All three games are played in Bakersfield. A live audio broadcast of all three games will be available at livestream.com/socalcatch