Werth Delivers Walk-Off Winner

PASADENA, CA- In dramatic, late, come from behind fashion, the Arroyo Seco Saints (2-0) beat the Conejo Oaks (2-1) by a score of 6-5 in their first home game of the season Sunday night.  

The home opener festivities couldn’t have started much worse for the Saints, as they immediately found themselves in a 4-0 hole. Typically reliable Saints starter Caleb Reyes (Cal Poly Pomona) had trouble settling in in his first start of the year and the Oaks batted him around with four hits in the inning.  

To make matters worse, The Saints couldn’t match the Oaks’ quick start. Third Baseman Josh Livingston (Wichita State) singled, but the Saints stranded him at first base.  

The second inning looked to be headed similarly sideways for Reyes as the first batter doubled and the second reached on a fielder’s-choice error to put runners at first and second with nobody out.  

But Reyes got the next hitter to strike out, which seemed to calm his nerves. A popout and another K later and Reyes was out of the inning with no further damage done.  

The Saints couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the second either, but fortunately a locked-in Reyes continued to hold the line, throwing another strong inning with two strikeouts and a popout.  

And in the bottom of the third, the Saints offense finally broke through. Alex Birge walked, Tyler Gordon took a pitch off the shin, and Crew McChesney singled to load the bases with nobody out.  

The Saints, seemingly picking up on fatigue from Oaks’ starter Cole Fisher (Millersville) who had pitched in the Oaks’ opener against the MLB Academy Barons just three days prior, continued to be patient at the plate.  

As a result, Cam Conley (Pepperdine) and Ray Bermudez (Polk State) both picked up RBIs on walks. But Fisher seemingly had just enough left in the tank to relocate the strike zone, and the Saints couldn’t capitalize on a golden opportunity for a big hit as their next two hitters struck out and the inning ended with them still trailing 4-2.  

Reyes picked up two more strikeouts in the fourth, giving him six on the day. Saints Manager Aaron Milam was pleased with how Reyes responded after a rough first inning.  

“He needed to get his legs underneath him, learn to pitch off this mound again,” Milam said. “It was one inning, the first inning, the next three were fine.”  

 The Saints built another threat in the bottom of the fourth with runners on second and third but again could not get the big hit and the inning ended without a run.  

Elijah Hernandez (Emporia State) came on in relief of Reyes in the fifth and had similar trouble settling in, giving up two hits and then letting a wild pitch get away from him as a run scored. But he settled in and retired the Oaks without allowing another run.  

The game became a bullpen battle from there, with neither team allowing any type of rally. The Saints’ superb bullpen effort was highlighted by an incredible top of the eighth from Jace Presley (Undecided), who, after walking one batter, struck out the side.  

Milam made sure to give the bullpen plenty of credit postgame.  

“Our pitching is giving us a chance to win baseball games,” Milam said. “If the pitching keeps giving us a chance, we’re going to win a lot of games.” 

In the bottom of the eighth, the Saints manufactured another hitless rally, loading the bases via two walks and a hit batsman. But they again wasted a golden opportunity, stranding all three runners on base.  

In the top of ninth, Michael Nunez (Loyola Marymount) got into a bit of trouble for the Saints, putting runners on first and third with two out. But he retired the Oaks on a groundout to give the Saints one more shot at a comeback, still down three.  

In the bottom of the ninth, the Saints began to grind out one final rally. Tyler Gordon (Miami University OH) led off the inning with a walk, took second on a wild pitch, then stole third. Following another walk to Crew McChesney (BYU), Gordon scampered home on a Conley groundout.  

That put the Saints within two. But, given how the rest of the game had gone to that point, it felt like the Saints would have to get the big hit they’d been missing all game long. So far, that hit hadn’t come.  

Livingston drew a walk, and still the tension built. Another great rally, but still no big hit.  

And then, Bermudez hit a soft line drive that fell just in front of the Oaks’ center fielder, scoring McChesney (who had made it to third on two stolen bases) and cutting the deficit to one. The Saints’ first hit since the fourth inning couldn’t have come at a better time.  

There was still work to be done, but everyone felt the momentum at Jackie Robinson field completely shift. It was as if Bermudez took the Saints’ bats out of a freezer and threw them into a furnace; they were suddenly on fire. The next batter, Jakob Schardt (Fullerton), hit a booming fly ball to center field that bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double, knocking in the tying run and putting runners at second and third with just one out. 

After Ryan Scott (Incarnate Word) was hit with a pitch to load the bases, Peter Werth (Charleston Southern), who pinch hit in the eighth inning, came up with the opportunity to be the hero. It turned out he was just the hero the Saints needed. He slammed a rocket into left-center field, Bermudez crossed the plate, and the Saints went wild as Werth delivered the game-winning RBI single.  

Werth has pinch hit for the Saints in both of their first two contests. His defensive versatility and extensive collegiate experience have made him a supersub for the Saints.  

“You have an older guy come up in a situation like that, he doesn’t make the situation too big,” Milam said. “We were just trying to get the ball to the outfield, that’s what we were telling [Werth], just get the ball to the outfield, don’t do too much here. The process really played out.”  

For his part, Werth has done everything he could to stay prepared, knowing his name could be called at any point.  

“Being overall prepared and ready for my turn is always kind of going through my mind,” Werth said. “A couple swings throughout the innings, run, throw, just do something that keeps me loose and ready.”  

The result was a calm and prepared Werth, ready for the moment.  

“The nerves never really kicked in,” Werth said with a smile.  

The dramatic, come from behind victory was an incredible way to ring in a new season at Jackie Robinson Field.  

Don’t miss the next unforgettable moment in this Saints season: be sure to come out for the next game on Tuesday Jun 11 when the Saints take on the Walnut Creek Crawdads at Jackie Robinson Field. Trajan Lee (Trinity) will take the mound for the Saints and will throw his first pitch around 6:05 PM.  

And as always, the game will be streamed live on our YouTube Channel! 


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





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

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