Kingsmen roll through round robin opponents

The California Lutheran baseball team played in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Round Robin tournament this past week.

The Kingsmen won both games of a doubleheader on May 1. Junior pitcher/catcher Trey Saito started the first game on the mound and hit a walk-off single in the second game.  Photo by Roman Valenzuela - Staff Photographer
The Kingsmen won both games of a doubleheader on May 1. Junior pitcher/catcher Trey Saito started the first game on the mound and hit a walk-off single in the second game.
Photo by Roman Valenzuela – Staff Photographer

The first game the Kingsmen had was on April 27 against the Caltech Beavers. The Beavers are in last place in the SCIAC with an 0-25 conference record. The Kingsmen are sitting in second place with a 19-6 conference record.

“I think we did a good job with our offensive approach and our pitchers came out and threw strikes and I think it was overall a great team effort starting from Wednesday,” junior catcher Eddie Villegas said. “We kind of struggled in the third game but we found it late and that’s when it counts. I think all three games so far were great team wins. We pitched, fielded and hit the ball really well.”

The Kingsmen started off with an earlier lead in the second inning with three singles and a hit by pitch to score two runs. Junior infielder Jimmy Jauregui started off the rally with a hit by pitch, followed by a single from freshman first baseman Weston Clark. Junior outfielder Brad Fullerton was able to load the bases with a bunt single of his own. Junior pitcher/catcher Trey Saito came up with a clutch 2-run single to center field to put the Kingsmen on the board.

The third inning was very similar for the Kingsmen. They scored two runs putting the score at 4-0. Senior second baseman Chad Clark singled through the left side to score senior third baseman Davey Casciola after he reached first on a hit by pitch, Jauregui came up to score Chad Clark with another single to center field.

Cal Lutheran added three more runs in the fifth inning to put the score at 7-0 Kingsmen. Senior outfielder Ramsey Abushahla was able to push another run across the board in the sixth inning with a double to the right side to score Casciola.

“We are playing some pretty good baseball we just had some ups and downs in the beginning of the season but now we are actually locking in. We are playing more as a team and everything has just come around,” Saito said. “Our defense is pretty good, our offense is having some timely hits and our pitching staff in unreal.”

The top of the seventh put the mercy rule into effect. With five hits and three runs the Kingsmen extended their lead 11-0. Jauregui finished the day going 3-3 with his last single happening in the seventh to start off. Weston Clark singled up the middle to get sophomore Max Weinstein, pinch running for Jauregui, to third. Junior outfielder Sinjin Todd came in to pinch hit for Fullerton and hit a double to deep left center to score Weston Clark from first. Senior short stop Max Price singled to right field to score Todd.

Freshman pitcher Ryan Bill was able to hold a no-hitter against the Beavers after six and one-third innings. Bill left the game with one hit and one run with one out for senior pitcher Tyler Nevins to get the last two outs of the game, after giving up a double he held the Beavers for a save.

“You just don’t think about it you just play the game,” Saito said. “The thing about no-hitters is you just put more pressure on yourself when you think about it, so you just catch a normal game, play a normal game and don’t do too much. The game is a lot easier and usually you’ll come on top.”

The Kingsmen continued the round robin play on May 1 with two games against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens and the La Verne Leopards. The first game ended quickly with a 19-6 win by Cal Lutheran in seven innings. The second game ended in style with the Kingsmen having a walk-off single to propel Cal Lutheran to a 6-5 win in 11 innings.

The Kingsmen were able to put up two runs early in the first inning against the Sagehens off of the bats of Casciola, Jauregui and junior outfielder Gabe Gunter. Abushahla started the third inning scoring rally with a triple and was pushed across by Gunter. Jauregui notched his first homerun of the season to put the score at 5-1 Kingsmen. Cal Lutheran etched six more runs in the fourth inning off of four hits. They finished the game by adding eight more runs at the end of the sixth inning putting the score at 19-1 Cal Lutheran. The Sagehens were able to push six runs across in the top of the seventh inning before the Kingsmen could get three outs making the final score 19-6 Kingsmen.

The second game was much more exciting on both sides of the diamond. The Kingsmen compiled 21 hits in the game but weren’t able to score until the eighth inning. They put up four runs in the eighth inning, Casciola singled to knock Saito in followed by a three-run homerun by Gunter to tie the score at 4-4.

“I came up with runners on second and third and two outs so I was just looking for something out over the plate to drive it and drive in those two runs,” Gunter said. “Luckily he gave me one over the plate and I put a good swing on it and it went over the fence.”

The Kingsmen were able to string a couple of hits together in the bottom of the 11th inning to score two runs and win the game 6-5. Gunter turned a single into a triple and was then scored by Jauregui. Saito then came up and hit a walk-off single up the middle to score Weston Clark and win the game for the Kingsmen.

“I was just trying to take a team at bat,” Saito said. “I was just looking for a mistake and he made a mistake with his breaking ball he left it up and I saw the pitch up and hit a line drive up the middle.”

The Kingsmen are currently seated in second place and will play at home on Sparky Anderson Field on May 6 in the first game of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament.

“I am very proud of all of their hard work they played for, but we aren’t done yet and have a long way to go,” Assistant Coach Mike Yingling said.

Courtney Sooy
Senior Writer
Published May 4th, 2016