Pitching Paves it & Clutch Hitting Saves it
With the draft hysteria winding down, the world at the Urban Youth Academy is motivated once again by the results. The news that former players Joe Terry was taken by the White Sox in the 8th round and Tony McClendon was taken by the Athletics in the 47th round further establishes the Academy’s ability to connect with quality talent. In the current squad Alfredo Lopez was chosen by the Marlins in the 20th round while Jarred Frierson went in the 36 th round to the Atlanta Braves. Good news is always welcomed, appreciated, and celebrated, but tonight, the Academy Barons got back to business and have more relevant reasons to be excited. Facing the Santa Barbara Foresters in the second game of a three game series, the Barons started with a left handed pitcher who’s been throwing for Norte Dame, Joe Spizzirri. His 3 innings of work went well except for falling behind on a few hitters. Still, he only allowed one hit, no runs, no walks, and no punches to proclaim. Tonight, the Barons were the first to crack the LED’s on the scoreboard. Center fielder Brett Vertigan dumped one into the right field corner and sped into 3rd base without a problem. His triple bumped up the energy and it also allowed Abel Medina to crack a single up the middle and into center field for an RBI. Other than that sequence of disturbance, Foresters pitcher Kevin Chambers seemed pretty much unbreakable even though his outing was not perfect.
On the Barons side, Marcos Lara came in for the 4th inning and shocked the crowd by striking out all three batters he faced. He wound up pitching 3 innings, giving up a hit, no runs, a walk, and three impressive strike outs. Meanwhile, the Barons were unable to pick up any runs, and as the Foresters inserted Jeff McVaney and Jon Abramson in the pitching slot, the tide was destined to avalanche on the crew from Santa Barbara. The Foresters did mount an attack with 2 runs 7th and one in the 8th against then newly place pitcher Martin Villanueva. His struggles unleashed Roman Martinez from the bullpen. The tall right hander inherited the bases loaded and escaped the inning, but not without a run crossing the plate that was charged to Villanueva. Memories of the previous night began to circle our heads, this time, it was the bottom of the 8th inning and the Barons were down 3-1. I sensed that the Foresters were once again feeling that their handle on the victory was as assured as oxygen flourishing on earth. Proof that to underestimate is the same as naïve complacency in a game like baseball.
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Able Medina from Cal State Dominguez began the shift of awareness by taking a walk. In a way that seemed simple and thoughtless, Connor Rhoades was hit by a pitch. And after striking out more times than I can count, Mac Tucker practically dislodges second base from the ground on a hard hit single up the middle. It produced a run and I was able to see the confusion on the faces of Foresters losing cabin pressure. Then, the strategy of pinch hitting Justin DeMarco became a scientifically plotted success that crunched another RBI single. With the score now tied, I heard more disbelief in the visiting dugout and bleachers than conscientious hearts on the Gulf of Mexico. With two outs and runners in scoring positing, it seemed almost inevitably predictable that the next pinch hitter Rucker McKinley would become the second Baron Hero in two days to break a tie late in the game with an RBI single. And so it was, the Barons went ahead 5-3, and Roman Martinez closed out the top of the ninth with only a walk to talk about. Barons getting drafted, and two late game rallies are brining about a new found emotional ground that the Compton Crew could generate into a trip to Wichita in August.
By Adrian Nevarez
DFN Sports Staff Writer