Saints can’t overcome early mistakes in loss to Foresters

PASADENA, CA- A slow start for the Arroyo Seco Saints (8-5) ultimately doomed them to a 7-3 loss against the Santa Barbara Foresters (8-5).  

The Saints were haunted by a familiar nightmare in the top of the first inning; an early homer by their opponent. Starter Kobe Minchey (Portal) opened the game with back-to-back three-pitch strikeouts, but walked the third batter he faced, and the fourth batter of the inning hit an absolute bomb to right field. Minchey got another strikeout to end the inning, but not before the Saints were already facing a 2-0 deficit.  

This continued a troubling trend for the Saints, who are being outhomered at their home field, three for opponents versus only two for Saints, with all three coming in the first inning. Early deficits tend to be a recipe for disaster and early opponent homers a disaster for momentum.  

The Saints couldn’t do much to swing the momentum in the bottom of the first either, going down in order.  

Things only got worse in the second inning, with the Foresters taking advantage of two Saints errors to put up three more runs. Minchey had five strikeouts and had only given up two hits at the conclusion of the top of the second, but the Foresters led 5-0. The Saints slow offensive start also continued, and they were in a five-run hole after two innings.  

Luckily, Minchey had his first clean inning of the evening in the top of the third. Also, the Saints bats finally woke up, with Easton Elliot (Portal), Adrian Lopez (USC) and Crew McChesney (Brigham Young) each hitting singles to load the bases with nobody out. But a home-to-first double play and a strikeout somehow ended the Saints’ golden opportunity without allowing them to score a run.  

The top of the fourth was more woe in the field for Arroyo Seco, who gave up two more runs due largely in part to two more fielding errors. Now trailing 7-0, the Saints had their work cut out for them more than ever.  

And, the bottom of the fourth felt a lot like the home half of the third for the Saints. They got two runners on and had a runner at third with less than two outs, but smart defense by the Foresters held them scoreless again.  

The Saints managed to keep Santa Barbara off the board in the top of the fifth, but it took a highlight-reel catch at the wall with two outs and the bases loaded by Jakob Schardt (Fullerton) to put the 0 on the board. Schardt followed up his web gem with a single in the bottom of the inning but was the only Saint to reach base as they were retired without scoring again.  

The Saints kept the Foresters scoreless again in the sixth thanks in large part to Alex Birge (UC Berkeley) and his throwing arm. Birge picked off two runners in the inning. The backstop then led off the bottom of the frame with a walk, starting a rally that ultimately produced three runs for the Saints on a bases clearing double by Elliot. The Saints’ deficit was down to 7-3 at the end of the inning.  

A cunning focus in Elliot’s approach ultimately led to the big hit.  

“My first two at-bats, they were trying to get ahead with offspeed, so my third at-bat, I went up looking for a fastball,” Elliot said. “I was honestly a little bit late, but snuck one down the line and it went in my favor.  

After being seldom used the first couple weeks of the season, Elliot has started three straight games for the Saints and performed exceptionally at the plate, going 5-for-13 (.385) with seven RBIs and four runs scored. He attributes his recent success to his budding confidence as he settles into the CCL.  

“Confidence, that’s what it all comes down to,” Elliot said. “Just thinking that you’re going to beat that guy that you’re facing.” 

The Saints again miraculously kept the Foresters’ run total at seven with a scoreless top of the seventh despite the Foresters loading the bases. But they couldn’t increase their own total as they went down in order in their half of the inning.  

The top half of the eighth was the pitching highlight of the night for the Saints, as Ahmad Harajli (Miami Ohio) came in and struck out the side in order. Unfortunately, they also went down in order in the penultimate inning.  

Harajli also pitched a clean top of the ninth with two more strikeouts. Unfortunately, this was not a night for the Saints’ late inning magic, as they went down in order once again in the bottom of the ninth to take a 7-3 loss.  

However, Saints fans need not view this as a setback after two strong wins.  

“I just know we’re a good team,” Elliot said. “We’re in first place right now so I know that we have what it takes to keep winning ballgames and just playing our game. I’m not even worried about it one bit.” 

The Saints will be back in action Friday in Irvine against a hot Orange County Riptide team with a great chance to make a statement against their CCL South rivals. Spencer Seid (UC San Diego) will be on the hill for the Saints.  


  • Saints reporter Ethan Inman (Southern California) 
  • Saints photographer Armando Jacobo (Long Beach) 





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

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