Saints Blaise Back to Beat Catch

By: Myles Bridgewater-Jackman, Sports Information Director 

La Mirada, Calif. -- The Catch made some noise in their return from the All Star Break, but unfortunately, relief pitching faltered, giving up three runs in the eighth resulting in a 5-4 loss to the South Bay Saints. Jason Kim (Point Park University), coming off of his worst appearance of the season, made one mistake in his five solid innings pitched: a third inning fastball that hung up for a two run home run.

The Catch acquired their first hit in the bottom of the second inning, a double off the bat of Christian Magno (Drury University) before their second of the contest knocked the first in. Julian Flanary (Miami University, OH) knocked a hard hit ball into center and Bryce Peterson tried to make a diving play on the ball. The hit fell in, past the glove of the centerfielder and rolled to the wall. Magno came around to score and Flanary glided into third with a stand-up triple.

The Saints retaliated in the top of the third with a two-hit combination of their own. Chase Nakano made his way aboard with a chopper past the shortstop, Austin Yeoman (San Diego Christian). Two batters later, Elijah Skipps turned on a fastball that was high and inside, crushing a two-out, two-run homer to left. The bomb gave South Bay a 2-1 advantage, which held up for the next three innings.

After showing off his power in the CCL All Star Game, batting phenom, Josh Rojas (University of Hawaii), proved he had plenty left in the tank for the last dozen games of the season. With Sanchez taking over on the mound for starter Matt Mogollon, Rojas swung at the first pitch he saw and did not miss. The second baseman squared up perfectly on the fastball and sent it out to dead center for a game tying solo shot.

The game remained tied at two until the Catch opened up a lead in the bottom of the seventh. Yeoman singled to lead off the inning, and took off on a hit and run attempt with Richard Cunningham (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) at the plate. Cunningham batted a ball that fell just out of the reach of the left fielder, sending Yeoman all the way to third, and advancing himself on a lackadaisical throw back to the infield. With one out, the South Bay infield played in on the grass, preparing to gun down the lead runner at the plate. Cameron Miller (Baylor University) hit a ball sharply that handcuffed the shortstop Kyle Henmi, who looked ready to throw home before he even had the ball. With the knock squirting over his left shoulder into center, both runners came in to score and double up on the Saints, 4-2.

The lead would be short-lived however, as Brian Nostaja (Cal State Dominguez Hills) struggled to find the strike zone in the eighth inning. The So. Cal. reliever walked the first two batters on nine pitches and gave up a single to Jason D’Andrea, that lined just past the tip of Yeoman’s glove. With the bases loaded and one out, Richard Samudio singled, scoring the two lead runners and tied up the game. Nostaja would get the hook, failing to retire a single batter, and was replaced by Alex Jefferson (Missouri State University) on the mound. Jefferson was unable to strand the remaining runner on base, and keep the game tied, as his second pitch was dished up by Blaise Dolcemaschio for an RBI double off the wall in right.

Fortunately, the bleeding stopped before the game got too out of hand, and gave the Catch a chance to regroup. Chance Gusbeth (Cal State Bakersfield) led off the home eighth with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Flanary. Gusbeth was given another base on a pass ball, and with the tying run 90 feet away, Austin Yeoman sought to drive the right fielder in. Yeoman made a check swing, that connected with the 3-2 pitch and grounded it to short. Henmi fielded it off his wrist, recovered and threw home. The play was close at the plate but Gusbeth was deemed out at home before Jefferson struck out looking to end the sun-shortened game in the eighth.

Up Next: The Catch match up with the Santa Paula Halos in double-dip fashion on Sunday the 19th. So. Cal. has won both matchups with the Halos this season in comeback fashion, and look to continue their success against the league opponent.