Barons Rise Up In The Ninth To Win The Opener
On a night when the Major League Baseball draft was in full stride and Stephen Strausburg struck out 14 in his debut with the Washington Nationals, the Academy Barons hosted their opening day game against the Santa Barbara Foresters. The Foresters were quick to light up the scoreboard with a couple of runs in the top of the 1st inning. Ryan Hawthorne sliced a single into center field and promptly stole second. A double by Graham Saiko drove in the run as the Foresters felt the comforts of taking such an early lead. It wasn’t until the 3rd inning that the Barons responded with a run of their own. Jordan Hinshaw opened the inning with a base hit down the right field line. He was pushed to second on an opposite field single into right field by the highly praised Alfredo Lopez. With runners on first and second, Jarred Frierson blasted a RBI double into the gap. Other than that, the Barons were held under control by Forester pitcher Boone Whiting. He went for 6 full frames allowing 4 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, and struck out 9.
For the Barons, pitcher JR Bromberg was unable to continue after the 3rd and finished his day by pitching 3 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs, 0 walks, and 4 strike outs. Meanwhile, the Forester offense cracked the whip again in the 4th inning and knocked in 3 more runs off of Antonio Peraza. A single by Jeff McDavey and the wild pitched that advanced him to second base is how it began. Nick Melino was walked, Patrick Tolentino peeled off an RBI single, Shane Kroker cranked an RBI single himself, and then Saiko streaked a single to center and sealed in the 3rd and final run of the inning for the Foresters. Peraza settled into his remaining 2 innings of work and ended his participation with 3 innings of work, giving up 6 hits, 3 runs, 2 walk, and striking out 5. The Foresters thought they had the game in a bag thicker than the earths crust by the time they brought in a highly scouted left handed pitcher by the name of Kylin Turnbull. He swept through the Barons line up easily through his first two innings of work. Then suddenly, not only did the bag rip at the seam giving up all it contained, the life seeped back into the bodies, minds, and souls of the Compton squad. It was in the bottom of the ninth inning, at a time when all seemed lost and doom was being spelled out by every Turbull pitch.
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A single by Collearen Randolph almost made the lights flicker. Hinshaw got on board on an error and the situation began to build itself slowly. An outright single by Shane Bora loaded the bases and produced a clutch opportunity for the highly touted shortstop from Compton College Alfonso Lopez. With the scene set, Lopez slapped a properly placed single into right field driving in two runs. Then a perfectly laid bunt by Brett Vertigan loaded the bases again and with no outs, the Barons prepared for the finale. The drama of Billy Hamilton tapping a ball that the pitcher was unable to handle began to choke up many of the Forester fans as they saw yet another run score. A change of pitcher was in order and as Mathew Stropoli took on the task of suppressing a newly charged Baron offense, it felt as if something interesting was filling the air. The excitement might have been the cause of the passed ball that allowed another run to cross. Now, the game was tied 5-5, and with runners in scoring position, the night’s hero Connor Rhodes stepped up and drilled a walk off single to right center field and the Barons rallied back from what seemed like an awkward night. The glorious moment would not have been possible if the Barons didn’t receive an amazing performance from pitcher Martin Rosenfeld. He was able to shut down the Foresters for 3 whole innings without giving up a hit or a run. He walked 1 and struck out 3 as the Barons take the first game of the season by the score of 6-5.
By Adrian Nevarez
DFN Sports Staff Writer