Even Highs Have Lows

CF Baseball drops series in conference play against Seminole State

JC Mendez #11 stands in the box waiting for the pitch. The Patriots went on to drop game one in extra innings 10-9.

Chance Heinen

JC Mendez #11 stands in the box waiting for the pitch. The Patriots went on to drop game one in extra innings 10-9.

On Wednesday, March 24, the CF Patriots took on the Seminole State Raiders. Starter Francisco Mateo took the mound for the Patriots.

Mateo was hit early for six hits, including four runs allowed, and only had one strikeout to his name at the end of his start. He lasted two innings.

Sophomore Logan Clayton took the mound for the Patriots following Mateo. His stat line of four innings, three hits, three runs, four strikeouts really didn’t reflect how dominant he was.

After battling for four innings, the future Houston Cougar tried to go for his fifth and was bitten by two home runs, first being a solo home run, and then a two-run home run later in the inning brought his day to an end.

Logan Clayton, relief pitcher, said, “I hated to work so hard to keep my guys in the game that once we took the lead, I was the one that gave it up. I felt like I threw good pitches and they still found their bats.”

The Raiders continued with the big swing mentality blasting another home run in the top of the ninth to put them up 9-6 going into the ninth.

In the bottom of the ninth with one out, freshman Nick Calero, who was pinch hitting, hit a single to begin the rally. 

With two outs and the bases loaded, the Raiders blew a three-run lead. With a hit by pitch to Garett Wallace, a walk to JC Mendez, and then a wild pitch brought home Carlos Gonzalez to tie the game.

In the tenth game tied at 10-10, Marty Smith, head coach, turned the ball over to freshman Riley Huge who had not seen much pitching time this season due to the vast amount of pitchers the Patriots carried.

Huge started the inning off with a bang, striking out the first batter and flexing his nasty curveball, then proceeded to get two ground balls. That gave the Patriots a shot in the tenth to win the game.

Another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the tenth wasted Huge’s efforts, and he took the mound in the eleventh.

Another strike out, and two errors put the runners on first and second with one out. The Raiders got a base hit that scored the eventual winning run.

The Patriots threatened in the bottom of the tenth with a Garett Wallace double late in the inning but he was held at bay. The Patriots fell 10-9 in game one.

Huge said “I’m glad I was able to have the opportunity to pitch in a close game like we did, losing like that because of two errors sucks, we will just have to bounce back and win these next two.”

CF travelled for game two to Seminole State. Left-hander Kyle LaCalamento took the mound for the Patriots.

LaCalamento threw 4.1 innings of quality baseball giving up five hits, three runs but only one was earned, before turning the ball over to the bullpen.

The bullpen shined, collectively the three relievers, Seth Baugh, Alfredo Carabello, and Troy Britts allowed one hit, one run, and struck out four across the last 4.2 innings.

The Patriots’ hitters erupted for five runs in the fourth and never relinquished the lead, Spencer Stephens and Matthew Cedarburg each doubled scoring three, and Wallace singled bringing home two more runs.

Baugh earned the win in relief and Britts earned the save in the ninth.

Pitching coach, Zac Cole, said “this was a great win, a big time win we needed and to have the guys step up on the road is a great thing to see.”

Finally, the Patriots came back home for game three, no one could foresee the disaster to come. 

The sloppiest game of the year by the Patriots led to six errors and an eventual 7-3 loss.

A huge series loss for conference play against a good opponent, but the Patriots lacked energy in the hot midday sun, despite out-hitting the Raiders 9-7, the Raiders played a virtuously clean game, having only one error, and scoring seven despite having only seven hits.

The Patriots go back into conference play on Monday, on the road against St. John River State College.

Coach Smith said “we played with a lack of energy, we did not want to be here and it showed. This is a potential championship winning ball club in my eyes, but if the guys don’t learn from this mistake then they could end up a potential what-if.”