Saints Score Five in First But Fall to Prune Packers 8-6

Article by Christopher D’Avanzo; Photo by Emily Moran

HEALDSBURG — The Arroyo Seco Saints (8-14, 6-12 CCL) offense was in full gear from the first inning during Friday evening’s contest against the Healdsburg Prune Packers. Unfortunately for the Saints, that was almost all the damage they could muster while the Prune Packers responded with rallies of their own, taking a lead and keeping it for an 8-6 Saints defeat. 

For Arroyo Seco, the Saints came off a victory on Thursday versus the first place Santa Barbara Foresters, as well as an overnight stay in nearby Santa Maria. The trip to Northern California means that the Saints are spending three nights on the road traveling to and from games, the lone of these types of trips the team has this season. 

For the Saints, this trip, coupled with the long ride to and from San Luis Obispo on Tuesday, is a glimpse of what life is like in high-level baseball where frequent, often arduous travel is the norm. The team has responded mostly positively  to the challenge, earning a tough win in the trip’s first game.  

Riding the bus means living on the bus, and it also means trash on the bus and cleaning it up. Reliever Joey Steele, the winning pitcher from Thursday’s game, got to celebrate the win by emptying and cleaning out the bus’s porta-potty. The entire team cleaned the inside of the bus after arriving to the hotel postgame on Friday night and even the staff and team interns found themselves collecting laundry to wash for the weekend’s upcoming games. 

The Saints left their hotels in Santa Maria and travelled for nearly nine hours to reach Healdsburg, and immediately underwent a rapidly-paced batting practice session versus coach Buller. 

But any signs of fatigue were not immediately noticeable. The Saints loaded the bases in the first inning after Cal Poly Bronco Drew Cowley reached on a hit by pitch, a walk to New Mexico State’s Brennan McKenzie, and infield single by USC’s John Thomas. 

Michigan State’s Nic Lacayo, the Saints five hitter, drilled a single for the Saints first run of the game. Lacayo, a catcher, got the start at designated hitter, meaning that Bryce Gray from Notre Dame was also in the starting lineup. Gray followed Lacayo by lacing a missile to right field, bringing home McKenzie and Thomas.

The Saints added a run when the throw by the Prune Packer right fielder got passed the catcher in an attempt to throw out Thomas. The ball entered into the dugout and Lacayo was awarded home plate. Gray also advanced to second on the play and ultimately came around to score on a hit by Miami Redhawks’ third baseman Colin Shepard. The Saints batted around in the first inning, plating a total of five runs. 

The Prune Packers answered back in the bottom of the first, scoring three runs and bringing them right back to within two. In the third inning, the Packers scored another three runs to put them in front 6-5. The third inning rally chased New Mexico State pitcher Wyatt Kelley, who started the game for the Saints, and brought in pitcher Jesse Reed from Temple College in Texas. 

With one out in the fourth inning, USC’s Christian Moya, entering the at-bat as 0-for-2 in the game, laced a line drive to left field. The ball nearly struck a passing car on its way out of the park. That solo shot by Moya was his 2nd home run of the season and evened the score at 6-6. 

Reed pitched the Saints to the 7th inning, allowing only one earned run but giving the lead back to Healdsburg. The Saints struggled to get anything going on offense after Moya’s home run. Prune Packer Sam Wezniak hit a solo shot of his own in the 8th inning as the Saints found themselves trailing 8-6 entering the final frame. 

The Saints had the makings of a two-out 9th inning comeback after Moya singled for his 2nd hit and advanced on a wild pitch. Cowley hit a fly ball to deep center that carried to the wall, but a leaping grab by Prune Packers centerfielder Luke Fegen saved the game for Healdsburg. The Saints were potentially a few inches away from tying the game. 

UP Next

The Saints play a double header on Saturday versus the Prune Packers, with game one starting at 3 PM and game two at approximately 6 PM. The Saints wrap up the road trip on Sunday with an 11 AM contest





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

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