Legendary Performance Leaves Long Beach Stunned

By: Myles Bridgewater-Jackman, Sports Information Director 

Long Beach, Calif. -- A few hours after the Independence Day festivities ceased around Southern California, the explosive Catch bats lit up the Legends in Sunday’s double header, taking the first in shut out fashion before blasting Long Beach to oblivion in the night cap.

Game One:

After missing his last scheduled start against the San Diego Waves due to a rainout, Jason Kim (Point Park University) manned the bump on twelve days rest. Kim threw 50 pitches over four shutout innings, striking out two and lowering his ERA to 3.38.

Kim allowed two, two-out singles in the first inning but retired the side in order during the second inning. So. Cal. got the bats rolling in the top of the third as Austin Yeoman (San Diego Christian) lead off with a first pitch single. Two pitches later, Josh Barrick (Liberty University) was beaned and found his way to first base. Richard Cunningham (Baylor University) worked a walk, loading the bases before Chance Gusbeth (Cal State Bakersfield) drove in Yeoman on a double play. Two batters later and Barrick made his way home on an error.

Kim faced some adversity in the third as the Long Beach Legends loaded the bases with two outs, but the starter escaped the jam with a fly out.

Adam Paulsen (Lewis and Clark State) replaced Jason on the mound in the bottom of inning number five and turned in three strong innings of work. In the meanwhile, the Catch added two more runs to their total during the eighth inning.

Chance Gusbeth shot a one-out flare to short right field to begin things in the eighth. Oliver Jackson came sliding in on the ball, but it fell just short of the right fielder’s glove. Gusbeth rounded first and as the ball dropped in, hustled up to second. Jeremy Barth (Biola University) then moved the runner up to third on a rocket that hit off the pitcher, Michael Ostrea, and ricocheted to third base. Barth beat out the infield single and stole a base, moving to second. Gusbeth advanced home on the throw to second for the fourth Catch run of the game. Cole Taylor (University of Utah) hit a single, sending Barth to third and Case Smith (Baylor University) drove in the fifth unanswered run.

Luke Laurita (Cal State Dominguez Hills) took over for So. Cal. on the mound in the eighth, shutting down the Legends on two hits in his two innings of work to wrap up the game one victory.

Game Two

After a short intermission, the Catch bats came out swinging in game two. Richard Cunningham lead off the first with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. Josh Rojas (University of Hawaii) worked himself a two-out walk and stole a base of his own to put two runners in scoring position for Chance Gusbeth. Gusbeth knocked an RBI infield single and beat out the throw to first by a half step. Rojas, noticing that no one was paying attention to him broke for home and scored as well on the play. Christian Magno (Drury University) joined in the parade with a single to center, sending Gusbeth to third. Gusbeth would come in to score on a passed ball and before Michael Stafford (Liberty University) threw his first pitch of the day, the Catch had given the starter a three run lead. Stafford took the lead and ran with it, retiring the first seven batters he faced, in order.

Meanwhile, the Catch doubled up on their lead in the second on four hits. Phillip Nam (Kenyon College) lead off the second with a ringing double off the wall in left. Alex Jefferson (Missouri State University) followed with a great bunt that went half way up the third base line, placing runners at the corners with no outs. Before Richard Cunningham even saw a pitch in his at bat, Legends starter, Michael Collins, threw an errant pickoff toss to first which allowed Nam to score and Jefferson to advance all the way to third. Cunningham plated Jefferson with a double that split the gap in left, for the fifth Catch run of the game. Two batters later, Cooper Esmay (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) replicated Cunningham’s double and pushed the lead to 6-0.

The Legends broke through for their first run of the day in the bottom of the third after loading the bases on three consecutive one-out singles. Stafford worked well to limit the damage, inducing two straight fly outs, however the first of two was deep enough to score a run.

The Catch kept tacking on in the fourth, this time pushing their score to 9-1 on a Chance Gusbeth two-RBI single and an RBI groundout off the bat of Christian Magno.

Dillon Miyashiro (Azusa Pacific University) got the call from the bullpen in the fourth, and Long Beach responded with another run but merely cut their deficit to seven. Oliver Jackson and Dylan Dubrouwer hit back-to-back singles before Cameron Mackenzie hit an infield bloop single over the head of Smith at first. That would be as close as the game would get, as the Legends, with limited depth, would struggle to retire batters.

The Catch tallied their tenth run of the game in inning number five, and added another five in the top of the sixth. Three straight walks loaded the bases in the sixth, before the following four batters each drove in at least one batter.

Cole Taylor recorded his first RBI of the season, in the top of the eighth, as part of a four run inning. Two straight doubles lead off the inning from Case Smith and Phillip Nam. Jeremy Barth hit a single through the right side, bringing Taylor to the plate. Taylor promptly launched a ball into the corner in left, clearing the bases and accruing a triple for himself. Cooper Esmay capped off the inning with a single, scoring Taylor to bring the Catch lead to 19-2.

Sam Eichler (Undecided) came on for the final two innings and pitched each of them in shutout fashion to seal the double dip.

Up Next: Snapping the Catch’s four game losing streak couldn’t have come at a better time, as the gentlemen in red will take on the Santa Paula Halos, in league action, at home on Tuesday. So. Cal. (6-9 in league play) need to make up some ground to pull themselves out of the cellar in the CCL South Division, and will have a grand opportunity to do so soon. The following the Halos game and another matchup against Long Beach, the Catch open a three game series with their division rival LA Brewers from whom they sit three and a half games back.