Saints Hit 5 Home Runs En Route to 15-2 Victory Over BaronsBy Arroyo Seco Saints July 29, 2023 03:45pm
COMPTON, CA – Following a 14-1 victory the previous night, the Saints picked up right where they left off in Compton. Coming into the night with 12 home runs on the season, the Saints exploded for five at the MLB Youth Academy Friday night. The common theme between them: all off the bat of a Wichita State Shocker. The offensive explosion led the Saints to a 15-2 victory over the Barons.
While the Saints did score many runs in this game, the first few innings were relatively slow; a pitchers duel was brewing in the first three innings. Former Saint Harold Boyce started on the mound for the Barons, while Hayden Lewis (New Mexico State) made his first start of the Summer for the Saints.
Both starting pitchers faced their problems early, though, the two managed to pitch the first three innings scoreless.
“After the first, Goose sort of yelled at me in the dugout,” Lewis said about the Saints pitching coach. “He told me to stop walking people and that definitely helped.”
That pep talk from Coach Goose did not just help a little bit, it led Lewis to post the highest strikeout total out of a starting pitcher for the Saints all Summer. In five innings pitched, the right-hander struck out 10 batters, allowing only three hits and one earned run.
Run support came for Lewis in the top of the fourth. After two singles to lead the inning off, a ground rule double by Alex Birge (Wichita State) scored Spencer Rasmussen (Azusa Pacific). In four games played this Summer, Rasmussen has scored seven runs.
Unfortunately, the Barons responded in the bottom of the fifth, tying this ballgame at one apiece. Fortunately, the Saints responded with their most electric half inning at the plate all Summer; the home run party began in the top of the sixth.
Jordan Rogers (Wichita State) led the inning off with a bang. His solo home run into left was his first of the Summer and put the Saints back on top. Mason Hammonds (Tarleton State) would then drive in Chase Meggers (Oregon), who reached base safely on a walk, with an RBI double.
With two runs across in the inning, Kyte McDonald (Wichita State) blew this game wide open. McDonald roped his third home run of the season, bringing two more runs across in the inning; the Saints now led 5-1 in the sixth.
After a swinging strikeout put out number two on the board, it looked like the Saints’ hot inning was coming to an end, but, following a Max Blessinger (Belmont) walk, a Raider Tello (Iowa) single, and Spencer Rasmussen getting hit by a pitch, the Saints had the bases loaded with two outs.
Stepping back up to the plate was Jordan Rogers, the one who got this inning started with a home run. Ahead in the count 3-1, Rogers was challenged with a fast ball in the zone. Rogers sent another ball soaring over the outfield fence at the MLB Youth Academy, his second home run of the inning and the season. All of a sudden, the Saints were leading 9-1 after the sixth.
The Barons were able to get one back in the seventh, but the Saints kept their foot on the gas in the eighth and ninth. Mason Hammonds and Kyte McDonald would both drive in another run for the team on back-to-back singles, then Mason Hammonds would later score on a fielders choice.
Leading 12-2 heading into the ninth, lightning struck once again. After a leadoff double by Spencer Rasmussen, Jordan Rogers stepped back up to the plate, already with two home runs in the game. With no outs in the inning, Rogers smoked another home run over the left field fence, his most convincing swing of the night. A bat flip and trot around the bases put the Saints up 14-2.
“I’ve never done that in a real game,” Rogers said regarding his three-home run game. “I was just trying to have fun tonight”.
With Rogers and McDonald both with home runs in the game, Alex Birge was the only Wichita State Shocker to not put one over the fence. That changed in the ninth.
In the same park in which the left-hander competed in the CCL Home Run Derby, Birge turned on a pitch and sent it soaring into the California night sky. His solo home run would be the final run of the game for the Saints, giving them a 15-2 victory.
With help from the San Luis Obispo Blues, the Saints are now a win away from securing the first seed in the South Division of the CCL State Championship Playoffs.
The Saints are back in action Saturday at 6:05 p.m. PST in Jackie Robinson Memorial Field. Tune into the matchup live on our Youtube Channel!
- Saints Reporter Bennett Snyder (Ohio University)
- Saints Photographer Sonny Tapia (Cal State Long Beach)