07/19/2016 9:36 AM
Pasadena, CA --- In a game that rocked back and forth in each team’s favor, the Arroyo Seco Sentinels held onto a 5-4 win against the Palm Springs Power, establishing a 1-0 series lead at home last night.
The winning pitcher was Sentinels reliever Anthony Robles (1-0). Robles pitched two innings and had two strikeouts. Starting pitcher Grant Vogenthaler pitched seven innings allowing three earned runs with five strikeouts. The losing pitcher was Cameron Neff (0-1) who pitched four and one-thirds innings and allowed three runs and six hits.
In their fifth game of the season against the Power, Manager Chevrier expected the game to be close but winnable.
“We have been competitive and match up well against them,” said Manager Chevrier. “They are a quality ball club from top to bottom on the mound.”
Duncan McKinnon was 2-for-4 with two runs. McEvoy was 2-for-4 with a run batted in and a run. Chavez was 1-for-3 with two runs batted in. The Power’s Mota was 2-for-4 with two extra base hits and a run batted in. Willie Bourbon was 1-for-4 with a run batted in.
In a game charged with tension and anticipation, the Sentinels gave Power starting pitcher Cameron Neff a hard time. Although both Sentinels batters made outs, they hit hard line drives to both sides of the outfield.
The Power scored first in the top of the second inning. Sauceda hit a double up the middle which was followed by Mota who drove him in on a back-to-back double.
The game was developing into the beginnings of a pitcher’s duel as Neff accumulated four strikeouts by the only the second inning. Then Vogenthaler seemed to lose control of the game by allowing his fifth extra base hit and second run. The Power led 2-0.
The Sentinels scored in the bottom of the fourth with McEvoy on base after hitting a stand-up double and advancing to third base on a ground ball. With one out, Devon Deraad hit a hard line-drive that tapered down the right foul line allowing McEvoy to score, reducing the Power’s lead to 2-1.
Neff proved to lose effectiveness in the bottom of the fifth inning allowing the Sentinels to even the score and score the go-ahead run. With runners on first and second, McEvoy doubled on a bloop hit that landed in fair territory in shallow right field. The Power summoned the hard throwing Brian Menendez who came in the game with a 0.66 ERA to face Chavez who had struck out and grounded out in his two prior at-bats.
Chavez squared his bat as Menendez’s left foot landed on the lower part of the mound. The ball became deadened and rolled along the foul line. Menendez was running and trailing behind as if to will it foul. But then the ball rolled into the first base bag and into Mota’s glove just in time to beat Chavez by a step. Perez came home to score from third, making the score 3-2. The crowd roared and applauded for the first time in a while at Brookside Park.
Vogenthaler took the mound for the seventh inning, an inning which would spoil his strong start. The Power were able to pick up on clues from Vogenthaler. First, Vogenthaler retired the first two batters he faced. The Andrew Brown hit a lively groundball to Chavez who could not cleanly come up with the ball, and was charged with an error. The Power singled three consecutive times. The score was 4-3 in favor of the Power.
The Sentinels tied the game in the latter half of the inning. McKinnon walked and stole second base on a curve ball by Menendez. Chavez hit a line-drive that seemed to curve toward right field and land in the outfield allowing McKinnon to score the SEntinels’ fourth run.
In the next inning, Anthony Robles came to relieve Vogenthaler. After two quick outs, Robles allowed a double down the left field line. Coach Stone made a visit to the mound. Shortly afterward, Robles had Lucero fly out.
The Sentinels showed off their typical scrappy style of play of relying on speed and carefully-planned hitting situations to score. Hoff had a long at-bat, fouling off six straight pitches and earned a walk. Hoff then stole second base on a swinging strike by Mausser who had been hitless for the game. Hoff then stole third base as Mausser struck out for the second out of the inning.
Perez stepped into the batter’s box. Power reliever Josh Tedeschi stood six foot four and commanded a presence on the mound. Tedeschi heaved a fastball which Perez hit softly to Shultz at shortstop who charged at the ball. But by the time he established possession of the ball. Perez was safe and Hoff had scored from third base. The Sentinels took a 5-4 lead.
Robles needed to pitch two scoreless innings if the Sentinels wanted to preserve their one-run lead and got into trouble with runners on first and second. Mota had doubled down the left field line and Robles walked Yenkel. In the top of the ninth inning, Robles had fans holding their breath.
After Hale grounded out to Chavez who threw a bullet that spanned the corners of the diamond, Schultz hit a high pop up directly above the pitcher’s mound. McKinnon and Hoff moved toward the spot near the mound where it looked like the ball would fall. But Robles called off his teammates. His back arched backward and the ball deflected off his glove as he leaned toward first base. Then on a wild pitch, Schultz, representing the tying run, stole second base.
Facing Mauldin who had two hits against Sentinels pitching, Robles struck him out on a full count. He walked Willie Bourbon who represented the go-ahead run. Then Robles had Grace ground out to shortstop Perez whose throw was in time to secure the 5-4 victory.
Robles showed an uncanny ability to be unrattled by his fielding error and the intimidating lineup he faced.
“I just went out there to try to throw strikes and let my teammates help me out,” said Robles. “I didn’t really feel much pressure. I knew I had a job to do to get it done. Vogenthaler though is the reason why we we got this win today.”
Manager Chevrier knew that the victory was not inevitable but attributes success to the high degree of competitiveness of his players.
“We still got a lot of work to do,” said Chevrier. “We got to go up to Palm Springs and win which is really hard to do in a big yard where the wind blows from left to right. We need some good pitching performances from out guys tomorrow if want to continue to win.”
“We have lost three guys due to school. As student-athletes they have to take care of their academics.
McEvoy been scuttled around the field with a cloud of uncertainty about where he will end up playing next season.
“With regard to McEvoy, he has done his job in terms of being a very versatile piece of the puzzle. We put him at first, third, short, left and right. He’s athletic and offensively has done a really good job to keep us in the game. At the end of the day, we would love to have nine of our guys that could move around the field. We are definitely glad that he stuck around. He was going to head back to Colorado with his family, but he said he wanted to stay here and fly back. We all appreciate his commitment to the team.”
The Sentinels win was a historic one. As a first-year member of the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League (SCCBL), the victory marks the first time ever Arroyo Seco has beaten the longstanding Palm Springs Power.