Offense goes quiet in loss to Barons

COMPTON, CA- July’s first hump day matchup wasn’t kind to the Arroyo Seco Saints (10-8) who couldn’t get over the offensive hump all night in a loss to the MLB Academy Barons (8-12).  

The Saints started off the game unable to get anything going in the top of the first. Easton Elliot (Portal) reached base via a walk but was erased from the basepaths by MLB Academy catcher Andrew Pyle (Long Beach).  

The Barons must have read the scouting report on the Saints, because they made a point of attacking early just like many other teams have been able to against Arroyo Seco. They crushed three straight hits to open the game, and the Barons were up 1-0 before Brady Nelson (Arizona Western) was able to record an out. But fortunately, Nelson was able to settle in and get out the next three batters consecutively to keep the deficit at one.  

The top of the second started a lot like the top of the first: Josh Livingston (Wichita State) stayed hot and reached base with a single, but he was also caught stealing on a strikeout-throwout double play by Pyle. A couple more Saints reached base with two out, but the Barons got the one final out they needed following the double play to keep the Saints scoreless.  

The next few innings went by with no movement on the scoreboard. Nelson’s outing turned out to be a very good one, as he allowed only one more hit and two more baserunners through four strong innings.  

Wednesday night’s catcher Nick Lazzara (Trinity) gave credit to one adjustment the pair made to helping Nelson settle in after giving up the initial hits.  

“We realized the fastball wasn’t the pitch to play off of,” Lazzara said. “It’s a great pitch, but it wasn’t [Nelson’s] main pitch tonight. That main pitch was his cutter, so we really started working off the cutter and it kept guys a lot more off-balance.”  

But despite the great starting pitching performance, the offense was still having trouble as  Adrian Lopez (Southern California) was the only other Saint besides Livingston to get a hit through those four frames.  

The Saints got a couple baserunners in the top of the fifth, including a bunt single from Tyler Gordon (Miami Ohio), but it was the same story as none of them were able to come around and score.  

Braydon Sanford (Oral Roberts) came on in relief of Nelson for the Saints in the bottom of the fifth and pitched a clean inning.  

The Saints had their best offensive opportunity of their night to that point in the top of the sixth. After a single by Elliot and a walk drawn by Lopez, and good baserunning that advanced both baserunners to second and third respectively, the Saints had the tying and go ahead runs in scoring position with two out. But yet again, they couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity.  

Luckily, the pitchers kept doing their part. Jake Vargas (Azusa Pacific) allowed the first batter he faced to reach base and then retired three in a row to keep the Saints a run from the tie and two from the lead.  

They wouldn’t break through in the top of the seventh though. Other than a walk, they got nothing going and went down without putting up a real scoring threat.  

The Barons were able to push a run across in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI double and it looked like they were going to get more with runners at second and third with one out, but Tyler Herges (Azusa Pacific) somehow limited the damage to just one run and got out of the jam.  

And in the eighth, the Saints got that run back. Lazzara and Livingston, the Saints’ two hottest hitters, hit back-to-back doubles with Livingston’s scoring Lazzara to cut the lead back to one at a 2-1 score.

Unfortunately though, the Saints couldn’t get that second run across, and the inning ended with them still trailing the Barons.  

Also, in games like this one, one swing can shift the momentum tremendously. The Barons did just that, hitting a home run in the bottom of the eighth for a huge insurance run. Suddenly, what felt like a game the Saints were climbing back into felt more like a game the Saints would be hard-pressed to change the outcome of.  

And they couldn’t. They simply ran out of opportunities to get the offense going, going down quietly in the ninth and losing the game 3-1.  

It was a superb night for the pitching staff, which Milam had plenty of praise for after the game. 

 “I think we were very competitive on the mound,” Milam said.  

Lazzara, who caught all five of Arroyo Seco’s hurlers, echoed a very similar sentiment.  

“Today I just saw a certain tenacity,” Lazzara said. “It really felt like all the pitchers had a kind of ‘takeover’ sense….they put it all on the line.” 

It was also likely just an anomaly for a typically excellent offense. The only element of concern for Milam is Arroyo Seco’s inconsistent fielding.  

“I would have to tell you that’s probably our biggest issue, is defensively,” Milam said. The Saints made two fielding errors Wednesday night. 

The Saints have an off day on the Fourth of July to rest, regroup, and get ready for a Friday Night matchup against the San Diego Sunrays at 6:05 PM at Jackie Robinson field. Here’s to hoping they can have a better night in the field, and the offense performs like Saints fans know it can.  


  • Saints reporter Ethan Inman (Southern California)  
  • Saints photographer Jordan Renville 





Aaron Milam | (626) 695-6903 |
Nick Gorman | (805) 252-7954 |

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