Logan Odom, the big 6-foot-6 righty from USC, struggled with his command early with three walks and a hit batter in one inning of work. Odom was pulled after loading the bases in the second.
Garrett Baker then got the nod. In his first big league appearance Baker was put into a tough situation, trying to hold on to the Owlz’ early three-run lead.
He struck out the first batter with three straight pitches and got the next batter to ground into a 4-3 inning-ending double play made by Taylor Lindsey.
“Coming in with the bases loaded and no one out was a little nerve racking but I was able to get through it and come out with the win,” Baker said.
The Owlz started the game off with some hot bats, lead by Taylor Lindsey’s lead-off triple. Ryan Jones then came through with a RBI ground out to second. Later in the inning catcher Abel Baker had an RBI stand-up triple of his own, followed by Jarrod Parks’ RBI base hit to right.
Then the bats went cold. The Owlz failed to put a hit on the board for the rest of the game. Instead they relied on their relief pitching and some great defensive plays.
“Thats a perfect example where a catcher can win a game by himself.” — Tom Kotchman, Owlz manager
Catcher Abel Baker had more than a few great defensive plays. The first one came in the first inning with two on and no outs, when Casper tried a double steal to third and second, only to have Baker make the throw to second.
“He did that on his own. That’s great instincts. You can’t teach that,” said manager Tom Kotchman. “He had no chance to get the runner going to third.”
Then with a runner on third, Baker blocked a ball in the dirt saving what would have been the game-tying run.
“Thats a perfect example where a catcher can win a game by himself,” Kotchman added.
Shortstop Trevor Hairgrove put his mark on the game with a few great defensive plays himself. He caught a hard line drive and threw out the runner at first for the double play in the top of the fourth, adding a spectacular, big-league diving stop and throw to get the runner in the top of the 8th.
Pitcher Aaron Tullo came in the ninth to close the game. He struck out two of the first three batters and then gave up an RBI double off the wall in left center to Michael Ramirez, making it interesting. Then he ended their efforts with a groundout to first.