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Saints continue strong start to season with win over Crawdads.

PASADENA, CA- The Arroyo Seco Saints are only three games into the 2024 season, but based on how they’ve played and how players speak about one another, one would assume they’ve been playing together for years.

The Saints continued their hot start to the season with an 8-3 win over the Walnut Creek Crawdads at Jackie Robinson Field and improved to 3-0.

In their previous game, the Arroyo Seco Saints had a thrilling comeback in the bottom of the ninth against the Conejo Oaks. This momentum carried over to their next game, resulting in their highest run total of the season.

The pitching staff also performed solidly. After allowing four runs in the first inning on Sunday, they have only allowed four runs over their last 17 innings pitched.

Even though they allowed nine walks, they were able to limit the damage and allowed just five hits.

“As long as our pitching [keeps giving us a chance to win], there’s enough guys that can swing the bat,” said manager Aaron Milam.

For as many positives took place in this game for the Saints, the game got off to a rocky start with Crawdad’s leadoff hitter and center fielder Casey Cummings (Texas) taking Saints starter Trajan Lee (Trinity) deep to left field to put the Crawdads on the board before recording an out in the top of the first. Lee rebounded nicely and retired the next three hitters in order.

It wouldn’t take long for Arroyo Seco to bring it back to even. In the bottom half of the inning, center fielder Crew McChesney (Brigham Young) led off with a single and advanced to second on a balk from Walnut Creek pitcher Ryan Delaney (Bucknell). Two batters later, McChesney scored on an RBI single from first baseman Joey Donnelly (UC Berkley).

Although he finished with four walks in three innings, Lee only allowed a solo homer. His battery mate for the game was someone he is very familiar with: Trinity catcher Nick Lazzara.

“It’s amazing to continue the opportunity of me getting to catch him,” Lazzara said after the game. “We only have one more year together at school going into our senior year together, so it’s just an amazing experience, and I loved every minute of it tonight.”

With the game knotted at one heading into the bottom of the third, the Saints offense put up four runs off of Delaney. A sacrifice fly from right fielder Ryan Scott (Incarnate Word) got the run parade started, and a two-run triple from Jakob Schardt (Cal State Fullerton) was the big hit of the inning. The final run of the inning came on a single from Sunday’s hero, Peter Worth, which scored Schardt, giving the Saints a 5-1 lead.

Schardt was also a key contributor in Sunday’s win as he hit a game-tying double. The triple gave him two extra-base hits in as many games.

Schardt attributes his recent success to having good timing at the plate.

“I’m just mainly focusing on timing. If I can get my front foot down before the pitches get to me, I have a good chance of driving [the ball],” Schardt said.

In each of their first three games, the Saints put up crooked numbers on the opposing team’s pitching staff.

Schardt says that coming up in those situations where his teammates continue to keep the line moving makes it easier as a hitter.

“Once one guy passes the baton, it’s definitely easier to get on that run,” Schardt said. “If one person is just doing all the work, it’s kind of hard to pick up on that, but since we have all nine guys hitting in the lineup, it’s very good to keep the lineup moving.”

With the lead at four, Tyler Herges (Azusa Pacific) came in relief for Lee. Just like his first outing of the year (two scoreless innings with six strikeouts), Herges had an excellent performance on the mound and kept the Crawdads off the board.

Herges twirled three scoreless innings and only allowed two baserunners on one walk and one hit.

While Herges was dominating on the mound, the Saints’ offense added two more insurance runs. The first came in the fifth as shortstop Tyler Gordon (Miami (OH)) was hit by a pitch, scoring Donnely from third. The next run came one inning later as Schardt drove in his third run of the game with a sacrifice fly, extending the Saints lead to 8-1.

Walnut Creek made things interesting with two runs in the top of the eighth off of Kobe Minchey (Dallas Baptist). However, Minchey stranded the bases loaded and escaped the inning with a five-run Saints lead.

Aiden Pollock (Dallas Baptist) closed out the game on the mound for Arroyo Seco with a scoreless top of the ninth.

The Saints will face these same Crawdads on Thursday, with Michael Nunez (Loyola Marymount) taking the mound.

The game will be streamed live on the Arroyo Seco Saints YouTube channel.

 

  • Saints reporter Dylan Gonzales (Fresno State)
  • Saints photographer Armando Jacobo (Long Beach)

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

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