07/04/2016 1:20 PM
Pasadena, CA --- The Saints and Surf played an evenly matched game in the first four innings scoring four runs each in turn ending in a walk-off win for the Saints in the 15th inning, 5-4.
Saints starter Patrick Pena would only last two innings but made a quick move on the mound to pick off Dimascio at first base, clearing the bases and appearing to elude danger.
The game took a sudden turn in the Surf’s favor. Steering drew a walk. Bush then hit a RBI double down the right field foul line that graced the diving glove of Netz, giving the Surf a 1-0 lead. Defreta singled to score Bush for the second Surf run of the game.
Surf right-hander Matthew Moriarty pitched efficiently by comparison and got outs on either the first or second pitch he threw.
In the third inning, even Moriarty appeared unsettled loading the bases with no outs allowing Schipper to tie the game on a base-hit on the left side of the diamond, scoring Aldridge and Oropeza-Reyes.
The Saints could have two runners in scoring position with one out, but bad base-running spoiled their plan. On a ground ball to third base, Netz broke for home and was tagged out as Defreta hesitated to check the runners. Then Schipper tried to go to third base in the next part of the play, but was tagged out.
The Surf took the lead in the fourth inning, which would be the last inning where scoring could be recorded until the fifteenth inning. Fuch hit a RBI double scoring Steering who had singled. Mulrooney hit an RBI single to score Fuchs from second base, making the score 4-2 Surf.
The Saints were able to tie the game after failing to drive in runs with runners on first and third and no outs. Warren would line out to shortstop recording the first out. Luckily for the Saints, a wild pitch came to score Conant and advance Thompson to second base. Oropeza then singled to right field to tie the game at 4-4.
It almost seemed as if neither team could score a run through five innings. The Surf advanced baserunners to third base and came close on several occasions, but the Saints could not even advance a runner to second base.
In extra-innings, Schipper made an awe-inspiring catch toward the left foul line for the final out, entering a fully-extended dive and landing face-first into the outfield grass while maintaining possession of the caught ball which preserved the tie game going into the bottom of that inning.
And in the fourteenth inning, what could have very well been an officiating call that could determine the game occurred. The home plate umpire called Thompson tagged out by the catcher on a ball that appeared fouled and landed near home plate for the second out. When Conant singled and Rosario was the pinch runner, scoring was tantalizing and remained so until the next inning.
Chase Aldridge led off the inning with a single. Oropeza laid down a sacrifice bunt to allow Aldridge to reach second with one out. Then, Manager Togeas called for Aldridge to steal. In a quick move, Aldridge took off and reached third safely. Netz then would come to the plate with the winning run on third base. Each pitch came presenting the opportunity for Netz to win the game.
And that is exactly what Netz did with a game-winning walk-off RBI single. He attributes his success to his preparation and persistence rather than luck.
“You just got to stay focused for all fifteen innings. You got to play hard and stay focused for every pitch. I was trying to stay back and hit a fly ball to drive in Aldridge and it worked.”
This inspired play by the Saints is what Manager Togeas would like to become a pattern rather than a rarity.
“We are definitely a base-stealing team. We have been averaging a couple of stolen bases a game. Execution is definitely going to make us good this year. What makes them good college players is that they realize that execution has to be done, that it is not always about just hitting home-runs and doubles especially in a tight ball game. You see it all the time in the Major Leagues with a team with great offense ending up getting shut down,” said Togeas.
Holland Groff earned the victory after going four innings and allowing just one hit. Manager Togeas believes his team has the necessary qualifications to come back from behind and stay engaged in an extra inning game.
“We were trailing most of the game, but we kept battling back. Our pitching held us there, especially the bull-pen. We played great defense. Both teams kind of struggled to execute which is why both teams struggled to execute,” said Togeas.
Manager Togeas testifies to the team’s maturity in being able to play effectively a doubleheader and stay mentally-engaged in every play. Hirsh’s pinch running for Warren in the 9th inning exposed the team’s limited staff of two catchers. Fuller would come into the game in that inning and carry his team to victory.
“It’s a team effort that explains our ability to win these kinds of games. Here we are short on catchers, have played five games in a row, and to cap this off we have a game of fifteen innings. Just having two guys carrying the burden of catching in the bullpen battling for us is huge, and that says a lot about them and the whole team. Everyone, regardless, is still in the ball game, is engaged in the game and wants to get a win.”