July 29, 2016
The Santa Barbara Foresters and the Conejo Oaks each won their first-round playoff games today at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton and will face each other tomorrow and, with a win, take a direct path to the 2016 CCL Championship Game on Sunday.
Kyle Johnston (Texas)
allowed only one hit and struck out six over seven scoreless innings to lead Santa Barbara to a 3-1 win over the Neptune Beach Pearl in the first of the two CCL playoff games today. Johnston was in command throughout. Of the 24 batters he faced today he allowed only three to reach base, one on a walk, one on a single and one on an error that Johnston himself committed but then promptly erased by inducing a ground-ball double-play. Johnston's pitching performance would've stood out even more if Neptune Beach starting pitcher Jason Seever
wasn't so close to being just as dominant. Seever struck out six and cruised through the first five innings. His only blemish early was a single allowed to Lex Kaplan (Tulane)
in the second inning and, after Kaplan stole second and third base, Seever gave up a run on a Dylan Paul (Texas State)
groundout. But in the sixth inning the Foresters got to Seever. Travis Moniot (Oregon)
doubled down the left field line and, when Matt Henderson (Florida St)
bunted to move Moniot to third, Henderson beat the throw to first to put runners on the corners. Henderson then moved to second on a wild pitch, Bret Boswell (Texas)
drove Moniot in with a sacrifice fly, Hunter Williams (Tulane)
drove in Henderson with a two-out single to right and the Foresters had a 3-0 lead. The Pearl finally scored in the ninth inning as Clayton Andrews (Cabrillo JC)
doubled in a run, but Foresters closer Blake Smith (Mississippi St)
got a strikeout and two groundouts to earn the save. See the boxscore/recap of this game here.
In today's second first-round playoff game, Jacob Patterson (Texas Tech) and Henry Omana (Cal Poly Pomona)
faced off in a duel of staff aces, and the Conejo Oaks and Academy Barons traded runs all the way until Jake Arledge (Arkansas)
hit a one-out triple in the top of the ninth inning and scored on a Kyle Sanchez (Cal)
sacrifice fly to give the Oaks a 5-4 win. Omana and Patterson were both dominant at times, Omana striking out eight over six innings of work, and Patterson striking out five and allowing only three hits in his six innings, but neither pitcher was untouchable. Omana gave up nine hits, including a solo home run by Max Weinstein (Cal Lutheran)
and RBI-hits by Codi Santana (Hawaii Pacific)
and Arledge, and allowed a total of four runs. Patterson was more effective, but in the third inning after loading the bases by allowing two walks and hitting a batter, he gave up a run-scoring ground out and an RBI-single by Ernie De la Trinidad
. That was Patterson's only rough inning and he left the game after six complete with the score 4-2 Oaks. Jacob Sylverster (Northridge)
was the first Oaks reliever into the game and he got through the seventh unscathed but, in the eighth, when Ryan Bill (Cal Lutheran)
came in, the Barons jumped on his pitches, recording four consecutive one-out hits to score twice on the last of them, a Martin Teague (Hope Int) single to tie the score 4-4. On the other side of the diamond and the relievers for Omana, first Joseph Mercado
pitched a flawless seventh inning and Oscar Munoz
struck out three in the eighth. But after getting the first out in the ninth inning, Munoz gave up the triple to Arledge, the sacrifice fly to Sanchez and suffered the loss. The Barons mounted a rally with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as Chris Kobar (Regis)
advanced to first on a third strike that bounced to the backstop and Keyon Allen (UNLV)
singled him into scoring position, but Oaks closer Logan Gillaspie (Oxnard JC)
, who came into the game in the eighth inning to relieve Bill and squashed the rally with the help of an acrobatic double-play turned by Sanchez who fielded a grounder at third, threw to Weinstein at second who fell while throwing to first, and Santana who picked the shorthopping throw at first, got De la Trinidad, the league's leading hitter this summer, to fly out to center to end the game. What didn't end up in this story of the game and won't show up in the boxscore either was the spectacular defensive play of Barons outfielder Cody Den Beste (Prairie View A&M)
and Oaks right fielder Chad Bible (San Diego St)
. Den Beste made two diving catches in right field tonight that stunned everyone who saw them, and Bible had one as equally amazing and a second over his shoulder that only he can explain how he caught it. See the boxscore/recap of this game here.
The 2016 CCL Playoff format and schedule can be viewed here.