Despite Conference Drop, Catch Earn National Ranking

By Keaton A. Moore

La Mirada, Ca-After their stellar start to the 2016 summer, which earned them national recognition, the Southern California Catch are in the midst of a three-game losing streak that was extended with their 8-10 loss to the Conejo Oaks. Now right at .500 with a 5-5 conference record, the Catch have lost their lead in the South Division of the California Collegiate League and have fallen to a 11-7 overall record.

Like they have done so many times in the season, the Catch scored a number of runs late in the game to bring their deficit down to two runs. However, those two runs proved to be the deciding factor in the Catch’s game against the Oaks.

Daniel Alvarez (University of California-Irvine) stumbled in his second start of the summer, leaving the mound in the fifth after giving up nine runs and ten hits. Through the first seven innings, Ethan Lopez (University of Hawaii-Manoa) owned the only two hits by the Catch and drove in their first run with an RBI double in the third. Discipline at the plate brought in the Catch’s next set of runs, scoring two off of bases loaded walks in the seventh inning.

The Catch’s real threat came in the eighth when they scored five runs, thanks to at bats from Jimmy Gallarda (Biola University), Jeff Murray (Santa Ana College) and Josh Rojas (University of Hawaii-Manoa). Sam Mrstik (Dallas Baptist University) also ended his game 3-4 and score two runs. However, their comeback attempt was not enough to snap the Catch’s now three-game losing streak as Southern California fell 8-10.

With their third conference loss in a row, the Catch are even with a 5-5 record and are trailing the Academy Barons by one and a half games. Regardless, earlier in the week, the Catch were ranked in the top 35 summer collegiate baseball teams in the nation.

For the past two years, Collegiate Summer Baseball puts out a weekly power ranking of the top 35 teams throughout the 29 summer leagues in the United States. While Cape Cod brags of a majority of the teams in the rankings, for the first time in four summers the Catch found themselves ranked 29th after the first week.