Week 4 Recap: The Saints Win the WeekBy Arroyo Seco Saints July 04, 2023 12:12am
The Saints kicked off week four of the season with a high-scoring victory in Compton, CA against the Academy Barons.
Though outhit 13 to 11, the Saints took advantage of several errors and a couple multiple-run home runs — including the first grand-slam of the season — to manufacture 14 runs and win the game.
Max Blessinger (Belmont), Kyte McDonald (Wichita State) and Mason Hammonds (Tarleton State) recorded multiple hits each in this game, including a two-run blast from Hammonds — last week’s CCL Hitter of the Week – in the 4th and the Wichita State product’s grand-slam in the 6th. Jack Little (Wichita State) legged out a triple and Jaime Perez (Tarleton State) and Raider Tello both doubled as well, for a total of 6 extra-base hits for the Saints.
The Barons temporarily took the lead back in the 5th off a three-run homerun. The Saints responded by scoring twice in the top of the 6th. Little’s triple started the inning, followed by two back-to-back walks that loaded the bases. A passed ball scored Little and a third walk reloaded the bases. Another passed ball scored a run, and the fourth walk of the inning reloaded the bases a third time.
McDonald came up to the plate with two outs on. He sent the 0-1 pitch deep into left field, where the ball temporarily disappeared from view in the lights. The dugout erupted in cheers after it finally clanged off the scoreboard.
The Barons put up a couple more runs in the last few innings, the Saints adding three more of their own for a 14-8 victory.
The Saints defeated the Barons back home in Pasadena as well, though by a much shorter lead than the day before. It marked the third sweep of the season for the team.
Alec Jones (Cincinnati) had a third-run triple to bring in the first runs of the night. James Nelson’s (Longwood) RBI flyout brought in the fourth.
The Barons came within one run of the Saints in the second inning, and managed to tie the game on a passed ball in the third. It didn’t discourage the Saints, nor did it affect their presence at the plate.
In the bottom of the third, the Saints put runners on second and third thanks to Raider Tello’s (Iowa) single and Jack Little’s (Wichita State) double. Alec Jones’ groundball made it through the infield and scored two to reclaim the lead. Richie Morales (Arizona) singled to add another insurance run to the board.
“You have to have short-term memory in the game,” said Little. “Sometimes things don’t go your way and you just have to forget about it and move onto the next inning.”
The Barons brought in a run in both the 5th and 6th innings. Matthew Holzhammer (Eastern Oklahoma) came in with bases loaded and struck out the last batter to get out of the inning. Little’s RBI in the second half of the 6th stretched the lead back out to two.
There was a bit of tension on the field in the 7th inning when the second Barons’ batter was hit by a pitch. Fortunately, the inning finished without incident and the game continued.
An RBI single in the top of the 9th put the Barons within one run of the Saints. Pitcher Hayden Lewis (Arizona) drew a shallow ground ball to close out the inning, finishing with an 8-7 win.
The Saints were on the road Friday to play the Santa Barbara Foresters.
The first two innings were quiet for both sides, with Carlos Herrera (Cal State Fullerton) on the mound for the Saints. Despite only allowing two hits in the third inning, the Foresters were able to take a substantial lead.
Santa Barbara first got on the board with a solo home-run which the Saints head coach Aaron Milam contested as being foul. The slowly setting sun had made it difficult to track the ball. Regardless, the call stood, and the Foresters were ahead 1-0. Three more runs — two of which were unearned — came across to put Santa Barbara in a four run lead.
A double from Alex Birge (Wichita State) put runners in scoring position in the fourth. A fly ball to deep center was unable to score a run. Birge, however, was later able to score on error and bring in the first run for the Saints.
The Foresters added another run in their half of the fourth as well. Despite the deficit, the Saints appeared to remain level-headed and continue fighting as they have in previous games.
Raider Tello (Iowa) kicked off the 6th with a double to right field. He stole his way to third with no outs, but the Saints were unable to manufacture a run. The Foresters however added three more runs to their lead.
Jacob Henderson (Iowa) took the mound in the seventh, striking out all but one of the next six batters he faced. The reliever has yet to allow a hit in the five innings he’s pitched so far, and has struck out seven of his sixteen batters.
While Henderson held down the Foresters, the Saints were able to bring a pair of runs in. Richie Morales (Arizona) scored on a passed ball in the seventh, and James Nelson (Longwood) scored Birge on a single in the 8th.
The Saints were still unable to catch up to the Foresters, and their seven-game winning streak concluded with an 8-3 defeat.
The Saints returned home for Saturday’s game against the Foresters, looking to bounce back with a win for game two. They did just that, and tied up the series with a 4-2 win.
The version of the team that took the field this game was markedly different from Friday’s team, and it showed early on in the game. Raider Tello, who has had a hit in every game but one that he’s played in, started off the second inning with a single. Alec Jones followed suit. Richie Morales, who would go on to have a spectacular night at the plate, brought the first run in with a hard hit ground ball that went past the third baseman. The Arizona infielder would go 4-for-4 this game, with a total of three base hits, a double, and two runs scored. Preston Godfrey (New Mexico State) brought the second run in with an RBI groundout.
Tello had his second single of the night in the fourth inning. Alex Birge was unable to stretch his base hit into a double, but he put Tello in scoring position. Morales’ second hit and second RBI of the night scored the third run.
The Foresters came close to scoring in the 5th inning, but were unable to against Matthew Holzhammer. Max Blessinger (Belmont) got on base with a single and Mason Hammonds (Tarleton State) followed up with a double down the left field line. Kyte McDonald’s (Wichita State) RBI flyout brought in the Saints’ fourth run.
The Foresters scored two in the eighth, but were unable to catch the lead, finishing in a 4-2 loss.
The Saints were back in Santa Barbara yet again for Sunday’s matchup. SImilar to Friday’s game, the Foresters took an early lead.
Bradley Mullan (Gonzaga) was on the mound for the Saints. He struck out five in three innings, and of the three runs scored on his watch, only one was earned.
The Saints were only outhit by one after the third inning, yet they trailed by three. The Saints were making contact and managed to put a total of nine on base, but couldnt seem to manufacture a run.
In the third inning, James Nelson (Longwood) and Julian Alvarez (Cal Baptist) got on base to put runners on second and third. Tello singled in the 1st and 6th innings, and Jack Hammond (Long Beach State) doubled and singled in the 4th and 6th. Overall, six runners were left on base.
The Foresters put up a pair of runs in both the 4th and 5th innings to take a 7-0 lead. They added three more in the 7th. The Saints ruined the shutout in the 8th inning after Kyte McDonald (Wichita State) scored their only run on a pass ball. Though Arroyo Seco has previously been able to snag victories at the last minute, they were unable to catch up this afternoon.
Head coach Aaron Milam frequently encourages his players to “win the week.” So while the Saints were unable to maintain their streak, they did emerge with a 3-2 record for week 3.
Week 4 begins on Wednesday for the Saints with a home game against the Conejo Oaks. Tune in to our Youtube Channel at 6:05 p.m. PST to watch.
- Saints Reporter Sydney Barragan (New York University)
- Saints Photographer Sonny Tapia (Cal State Long Beach)