07/13/2017 10:30 PM
Henry Rounds Arroyo | Seco Baseball Insider
PASADENA - After Arroyo Seco was outscored a combined 28-3 in two road losses against Palm Springs in consecutive nights, a tired Sentinels team was back on the diamond again - this time playing the two win Riverside Bulldogs and looking to turn things around and make a late playoff push.
Casey Slattery singled home a run in the first inning to give the Sentinels an early 1-0 lead, but Arroyo Seco also grounded into a double play that ended the inning gave the Bulldogs momentum. This helped Riverside take a 3-1 lead on a bases clearing double the very next inning, but the Sentinels were not intimidated.
“It didn’t feel like we were down, we’ve always been the comeback cats this season, so we knew we were going to play the game fully and all the way through.”
As in the last home game, a 6-3 win over the Ventura County Bucs, Sentinels Head Coach Justin Togeas followed a similar gameplan and again leaned heavily on the bullpen. Starter Nathan Garkow was relieved after just two innings to help the Sentinels bullpen - arguably the team’s biggest strength - get some work in to help maintain the bullpen mojo in preparation for a big weekend series against the Inland Valley Bucs.
“The plan of the day was to do that, we want all those guys to get an inning in at least and get some work in.”
The call to the bullpen paid off, and the Sentinel relievers kept the Riverside hitters off balance for seven innings, giving up only one run and striking out eight. However, while the bullpen kept the Bulldogs at bay, the Sentinels left 10 runners on base, and went a measly 2-10 with runners in scoring position. One of those two hits however, was a Noah Barba home run in the fourth inning that scored Froy Smith and Casey Slattery and tied the game at 4. In a game that would see Arroyo Seco struggle to bring runners around to score, the key to the homerun, a major momentum changer was -
“Trusting the approach, getting something good to hit. I got some good pitches to hit, and put some good swings on [the ball].”
Patrick Pena, the starter turned reliever who has been lights out since moving to the bullpen tossed two perfect innings to earn the win. Pena, who is normally one of the Sentinel’s ninth inning arms effectively pitched the sixth and seventh innings.
“Wherever he [Coach Justin Togeas] needs me, I’m gonna play, and I’m obviously gonna pitch my ass off”
With the game now tied, and the regular approach at the plate proving ineffective, the Sentinels turned to some good old fashioned small ball to put the Bulldogs away. Nick Atkins reached on a seemingly harmless infield single, and Matt Colomes walked to give Arroyo Seco a runner in scoring position without the ball leaving the infield. Brandon Posivak laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, and Brock Bell lofted a fly ball to left field that was deep enough for Atkins to tag up and score. The Sentinels had completed the rally from down 4-1 and now led 5-4. Anthony Robles, another reliable late inning arm pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and David May, normally a weekend starter, earned the save and struck out two in a perfect ninth inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Barba’s Blast: With the Sentinels trailing 4-1 and in slump offensively, Noah Barba sent a 0-1 pitch over the right field wall for his third home run of the season. The round tripper tied the game 4-4, and gave Barba two home runs in his last two home games.
“Anything they they were to throw, I felt that the ball was gonna hit the big part of my bat.” - Matt Colomes on a night in which he got on base three times.
“Always throwing strikes, pounding the zone as much as you can.” - Patrick Pena gives his approach to pitching as the Sentinels took the lead in between his innings of work.
Arroyo Seco is back in action again Friday when they play host to the Ventura County Pirates at 6:05 p.m. at Brookside Park.