Catch (20-17) Split Second Doubleheader with Santa Paula

Box Score

Early on Saturday the fatigue from camp week showed for the So Cal Catch (20-17), as it took some time to shake off the groggy beginning to game one and pull ahead of the Santa Paula Halos in game two for a positive end to the week.

In game one Santa Paula jumped out early against starter Kevin Lillicrop (Point Loma Nazarene) with four runs in the second inning on two singles, two walks and two pivotal errors by the Catch defense. With game one scheduled for seven innings, it felt like an uphill affair from there on. The Halos would tack on runs in four of the next five innings, highlighted by a two run homerun by Alex Sawelson (Univ. of Hawaii) in the top of the fourth and win the game 9-0.

Conversely, the team in the home dugout found their offensive chances as confounding as a maze. Every time the Catch felt it had daylight to get itself back into the game, it would run into a dead end and see another zero on the scoreboard. Three times in game one the Catch had the bases loaded and could not convert. The chance in the third ended with a strikeout, and double plays stifled opportunities with bases loaded and one out in innings six and seven. Starter Rickie McWilliams (Undecided) navigated difficulties when he had to, but was largely in control over six innings. He struck out six and gave up six hits and three walks but no runs for the win. Lillicrop gets the loss after allowing seven runs, four earned, over 4.2 innings.

Jonathan Munoz (UC Irvine) had another productive game in the loss, going 2-for-3 with a walk, and would use his success as a vigorous warm up going into game two when he was just as successful. Munoz went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI in the capper, meaning that he was a main cog in changing the game from a tie to a Catch win the in late innings. The Catch was given a free pass to a 1-1 tie in the second inning when Cameron Bishop (UC Irvine) led off the inning with a double and scored on a balk by Halo starter Connor Detko (UC Davis). In the bottom of the sixth Munoz doubled home Ryan Land (Concordia Irvine Univ.) to give the Catch a 2-1 lead and later scored on a single by Bishop. It was a successful day overall for hitters two through five in the Catch order, as Land, Munoz, Chance Gusbeth (Cal State Bakersfield), and Bishop each had two hits to account for eight of the Catch’s nine in the game.

But it was Josh DeGraaf (Taylor Univ.) who placed the strongest imprint on game two. With his parents watching from the stands, the righty from Morris, IL got on a huge roll after allowing leadoff hitter Will Barring (Westmont College) to score in the first with the benefit of two more Catch errors. DeGraaf would retire 15 batters in order from the second out of the first to the first out of the sixth. Admittedly, Halo right fielder Brandon Evans (Santa Barbara City College) walked in the fourth but was immediately picked off by DeGraaf to end the inning. DeGraaf went seven inning of one run ball with five strikeouts for the win. Sean Sparling (UC Irvine) took the last two innings of relief for his first save of the summer. Sparling did not allow a hit.

The Catch will have a day off tomorrow from baseball activities and three days break from CCL play until it travels to San Luis Obispo for a three game set with the Blues. The Catch will welcome the San Francisco Seals for two games at Eagles’ Diamond on Monday (at 5 p.m.) and Tuesday (at 3 p.m.) before bussing to San Luis Obispo.

The So Cal Catch is a ministry of Fellowship of Christian Athletes Baseball. The Catch seeks to create an opportunity for collegiate baseball players to further develop their baseball skills in a highly competitive summer collegiate league and to train them to be lights for the Lord in a world of baseball.