The Eagles are Home Wednesday to face Santa Rosa Academy
By Lynn Guerin
You must applaud loudly for a team of high school baseballers who travel 200 miles one way. They stay overnight. Show up for a late morning game and play very well to come away with a victory.
That is exactly what the Bakersfield Christian Eagles did Saturday as they downed Rancho Christian 4-2.The loss for Rancho was the first on the home field since they opened the Nest at the start of the 2018 season.
It was a very well-played game on both sides, with excellent pitching, some sparkling defensive gems, and just a little more timely hitting from Bakersfield.
That hitting started in the first inning for the visiting Eagles when Kyle Langston reached on an error on a low throw from Danny Meraz at third. Milo Villalobos follow with a long single in the gap in left center, bringing Langston all the way around for an early 1-0 lead.
Starting pitcher Jo Jo Saatzer quickly settled in and got the next two hitters on ground ball outs to short and second. In fact, Saatzer was superb through the fifth inning, throwing no-hit baseball with 4 strikeouts and no walks.
Rancho tied the score in the bottom of the first when Saatzer lead off with a walk, stole second, went to third on a ground out by Micah Gaukler, and scored when Taylor Tosches reached on a ground ball error at third.
The score remained tied at 1 apiece until the top of the sixth inning. Saatzer came out for the sixth, having thrown an amazingly efficient 52 pitches through 5 innings. Bakersfield leadoff- hitter Daniel Paul promptly singled sharply. That brought coach Tony Nobiensky out of the dugout to bring in junior reliever Elijah Goodwin. Paul stole second, then scored on a double by third baseman, Kyle Langston.
Bakersfield now lead 2-1, with no outs in the inning. Goodwin looked like he might get out of the inning without further damage when he got a fly out to center, for the first out and got cleanup hitter Noah Granillo to pop out to first for the second out, leaving Langston still at second. Goodwin struck out the next batter, Nick Flowers but during the battle, threw a wild pitch that moved the runner to third and then a passed ball brought the run home to give Bakersfield a 3-1 lead.
Rancho came back to with a run in the bottom of the sixth, on a single by Jo Jo Saatzer. Micah Gaukler laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt down first base, by the time he was thrown out, Saatzer who was running on the pitched had hustled all the way to third. Jo Jo scored on a wild pitch from Milo Villalobos, making the score 3-2. Villalobos struck out the next two Rancho batters to end the sixth.
Bakersfield took a 4-2 lead in the top of the seventh inning to salt the game away, as Rancho Christian could only muster a single by Ty Miranda. Villalobos struck out the side to secure the victory. Villalobos combined with starter Nick Flowers to fan 12 Rancho Hitters.
Rancho saw its record slip to 4 wins,5 losses and a tie. The Eagles return to league play on Wednesday the 27th when they entertain Santa Rosa Academy on their home field. Game time is 3:15 PM.