Saints Use Speed To Race Past Barons, 6-4By Arroyo Seco Saints June 26, 2018 10:23pm
COMPTON, CA – Speed was the name of the game as Arroyo Seco started off strong and fast in the first half of the game. They held off the MLB Academy Barons’ attempted comeback in the second half to win it 6-4 on a sunny afternoon at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton.
Saints struck first and set the tone in the first inning. Gabe Chavez was walked by Barons’ starting pitcher Anthony Nettles and showed off his speed with a stolen base during John Thomas’s at bat. After striking out Thomas, Nettles gave up an RBI single to Bennett McCaskill, bringing in Chavez for the Saints’ first run. Right-hander Colin King began his day by giving up a hit but quickly recovered to pick off the runner at first and strike out the next two batters.
After a scoreless second inning, the Saints would tack on another run in the third thanks to Chavez. Jack Smith would be the next one to flash his wheels with a journey on the basepaths. He legged out an infield single, then stole second base, and moved to third due to a sacrifice flyout to center by Drew Cowley, before coming in to score off of Chavez’s RBI single. King continued to throw well for the Saints, pitching a 1-2-3 third inning with one strikeout.
The Saints’ offense exploded in the top of the fourth, driving in four runs to increase their lead to 6-0. First, Brennan McKenzie singled and came in to score off of an RBI double by Tristan Peterson. In another impressive display of speed for Smith, he laid down the bunt for a single and then beat the rundown to reach second, which allowed Peterson to score. Another RBI double by Cowley then brought Smith home, and an additional RBI double by Chavez brought Cowley home for the Saints’ final run. King’s strong outing, with no runs allowed, ended at 4 innings. Jesse Reed would come in to replace him in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Barons would earn their first run of the game this inning when Trevor Mattson hit an RBI double to deep left to bring Bruce Martin home.
The Saints would be set down in order in the top of the sixth inning and turn to RHP Timothy Post going into the bottom of the inning. The first batter of the inning would single, followed by a strikeout and popout. However the Barons would tack on two runs on two singles, making the score 6-3. The Saints were set down in order once again in the top of the seventh inning, and a pitching change put Brian McConnell on the mound. McConnell would walk the first two batters of the inning, and the Saints would turn to Bobby Fulkerson in the bullpen. Fulkerson would go on to give up a RBI single, making the score 6-4; but he would get out of the inning with no further damage.
In the top of the eighth inning, Brennan McKenzie would reach second on a ground rule double on a shot that bounced over the centerfield fence with one out. However, the Saints were unable to bring him home and would turn to Reed Osborn to close out the eighth. Osborn would walk two and get two outs before he would be relieved by Joey Steele, who would strike out the last batter.
In the bottom of the ninth, Steele would once again take the mound to close out the game. Steele would retire the side in order emphatically, and the Saints would win the game with a final score of 6-4.
HE SAID IT
Head Coach Sean Buller: [On baserunning] “We struck early…the guys are starting to figure the game out. We saw how they were playing defense and what we need to do to get on and score. It showed in the first inning and it showed in the fourth inning when we scored 4 and it was good to see these guys jump ahead like that.
“We have to take it one game at a time. We talked about our goal of going 6-0 in this stretch, I think we can do it. But, the most important game of the year is tomorrow and the biggest thing we can stress to these guys is the importance of getting the job done… pitchers have to come in with a sense of urgency… hitters have to come in and understand the situation and not try to do too much.
Center Fielder Jack Smith:
[On smart baserunning]: “Honestly, it comes down to trusting my instincts around the game of baseball. I come from a baseball family, my father is a coach so I’ve never been out of the game. And using what I’ve learned from his guys and their game and implementing them into my game really helps me on the basepaths.”
[On his small ball approach]: “Look at the third baseman, if he’s on the edge of the dirt I know I can beat him, and a free base is a free base. Obviously, I like to run a little a bit so I just try to get on and touch home plate as much as possible.”
The Saints are back in action when they head back home to Pasadena to take on the Ventura County Buccaneers in a non-league matchup for single game before traveling up to San Luis Obispo to take on the Blues on Thursday.