Catch (4-1) Completes the Comeback

Long Beach Legends starter Nick Morton simply ran out of gas and the So Cal Catch capitalized. With the previous two hitters reaching base via base hits and the lefty Morton north of the hundred pitch mark in the bottom of the seventh, Sean Nearhoof (Univ. of Hawaii Hilo) doubled down the left field line to tie the score at two and put momentum squarely in the hands of the home team. It was fitting that Scott Gillespie (Covenant College) would then single up the middle to plate pinch runner Chad Powers (Princeton Univ.) and put the Catch up for good.

Gillespie was the only Catch hitter who was effective at the plate against the deliberate visiting pitcher. He went 3-for-3 with a double and a stolen base in addition to his game winning RBI. The Catch was able to win the game with seven hits, four of them coming in the seventh when it scored all three of their runs to overcome the two run deficit. Despite the offensive sputtering in the other frames, the Catch continues to burn up the base paths. With two steals today (one by Gillespie and the other by Alex Jefferson (Missouri State Univ.), the Catch increases its total to 14 through five games and have only been caught once.

Billy Kirkpatrick (William Jewell) earns his first win of the summer, pitching two scoreless innings in relief of starter Colin Ashworth (Arizona State Univ.), striking out three while allowing two hits. Ashworth pitched effectively over five innings, surrendering only one earned run. That run came in the first when Hugo Rodriguez was singled home by Ray Patchen after Rodriguez bunted for a single and stole second. The Catch starter struck out four but exited in a 2-0 hole after a throwing error was cashed in by Long Beach for a second run in the fourth. New arrival, Shane Stillwagon (Cal State Fullerton) closed out the last two inning of the game and got the team’s first save of the season. Stillwagon enticed the much-needed groundball to Cooper Esmay (Arizona State Univ.) at short for the game ending double play after the Legends put runners at first and second with one down. Nick Morton was tagged with the loss despite a great pitch performance. He kept Catch hitters off-balance all game and had a final line of 7 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 6 K's.

With four more inning of scoreless relief, the Catch bullpen still only has one earned run through five games and has not allowed an earned run in 22 1/3 consecutive innings since Billy Kirkpatrick was hit for one by the East LA Dodgers opening night. The Catch improves to 4-1 on the season and will begin California Collegiate play at the MLB Urban Youth Academy against the Academy Barons at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Long Beach Legends fall to 7-8.

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.