Watson powers second straight double-digit offensive night, second straight win

PASADENA, CA- Home sweet home has been even sweeter for the Arroyo Seco Saints (10-6), who put up 11 runs for the second consecutive night to beat the Ventura County Pirates (4-8).  

First inning runs by their opponent often come back to haunt the Saints, but that wasn’t a problem Sunday night. Michael Nunez (Loyola Marymount) began the game allowing two straight runners to reach base, but then got three straight outs without allowing a run to keep the game scoreless after half an inning.  

Bolstering their early confidence even further, the Saints put up four runs in the first inning. Nick Lazzara (Trinity) and Easton Elliot (Portal) each had RBI singles, and Eli Watson (Portal) muscled in a two-run double to cap off the rally.  

Nunez threw an even better second inning to make that lead stick. The Saints went down in order in the bottom of the second, but still up four, the Saints were feeling good.  

Nunez had a bit more trouble in the second, giving up two runs, one of them earned, while only recording one out. But he did well to get out of the inning without allowing any further runs and the Saints still held a lead, 4-2.  

And the Saints got both of those runs back in the bottom of the inning on a two-run triple by Watson. With four RBIs on the night, Watson already had his best game of the season through three innings.  

It’s also part of a stretch where Watson has gone 6-for-9 with 6 RBI in his last three games to raise his season average to .333.  

He’s accomplished his hot streak at the plate by keeping it simple and just trying to hit singles. 

“My approach mainly is just hit a seed over the shortstop’s head,” Watson said. “I’ve done that a couple of times.”  

But, the Pirates didn’t take kindly to being down four again. Nunez induced a lot of soft contact, but the Pirates’ soft balls-in-play seemed to find holes in the defense each time and they rallied for two runs of their own. Tyler Gordon (Miami Ohio) made a great diving play to finally end the threat, and the Saints still fortunately led 6-4. The Saints added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning on a sac fly from Gordon. 

Jace Presley (Portal) came on to pitch for the Saints in the fifth and held Ventura County scoreless. The Saints got a couple runners on in the home half of the fifth but did not score. 

A second consecutive one-two-three inning from Presley got the Saints through the top of the sixth. Arroyo Seco couldn’t manage any runs of their own in the inning, but still held a comfortable three-run lead three quarters of the way through this contest.  

Ventura County got one run off Damian Pasillas (Azusa Pacific) in the top of the seventh, but the defense did well to hold it to just that.   

In the bottom of the seventh, the Pirates defense fell apart and allowed three Saints runs to come across, all on errors. Watson also recorded a single amidst the rally, putting him on cycle watch, a home run away from the cycle. Saints fans anxiously awaited his final at-bat of the night to see if he could complete the rare feat.  

The top of the eighth for the Saints was like the bottom of the seventh for the Pirates. Two runs scored without the Pirates getting an RBI hit. Fortunately, Braydon Sanford (Oral Roberts) came in and induced a pop out to end the threat.  

Elliot had another RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to make it 11-4, but the inning ended with a bit of frustration for Arroyo Seco as Watson was left on deck when the third out was made, robbed of his opportunity to go for the cycle.  

Had he gotten up to the plate again, he would have taken at least a swing at the historic feat. 

“I actually said that my first swing, I’ll try for it,” Watson said. “But if there’s a situation for me to score the next RBI, the run matters first.” 

Fortunately, all memory of that was washed away in the grand scheme of things as Sanford pitched a clean ninth and the Saints won 11-7.

Also, Watson was still the clear player of the game anyway. He went 3-for-3 with a single, double, triple, walk, and four RBIs.  

Head Coach Aaron Milam said that he feels like Watson’s patience in waiting for more playing-time opportunities has been rewarded, and that he may see the field more going forward.  

“He got a shot, and he did well, he got another shot, and he did well again,” MIlam said. “Guess what that equals? Another shot.”  

The Saints hope to keep the momentum going Tuesday night right back at Jackie Robinson Field against the Conejo Oaks at 6:05 P.M. Trajan Lee (Trinity) will be getting the start for Arroyo Seco on what Milam is starting to call “Trajan Tuesdays”.  

Watson feels there’s a clear gameplan for keeping the momentum going.  

“Hitting fastballs early, making plays in the field, pitchers doing what they need to do and getting ahead in the count,” Watson said.  

Hopefully the Saints can do just that Tuesday.  



  • Saints reporter Ethan Inman (Southern California)  
  • Saints photographer  Elijah Hickmann (Cal Baptist) 





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

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