Legends Finish off the Summer with a Sweep of Crawdads
Palo Alto, Calif. – It was the longest summer of Menlo Park Legends baseball yet. The 45-game slate was uncharted territory for the Legends but they embarked on the task in June hoping to make the California Collegiate League Playoffs for the first time. While they may have fallen just short of the postseason, they were able to wrap up the 2016 summer with a doubleheader sweep of the Walnut Creek Crawdads on Wednesday evening at Baylands Athletic Center. The Legends took both seven-inning contests with some dominant pitching and early offense to put away a Crawdads team that was eliminated from playoff contention some time ago. With the wins, Menlo Park finishes up the summer at 27-18 and 14-12 in CCL games while the Crawdads end up at 6-32 and 4-23 in conference matches.
Game one saw the Legends get out in front very early thanks to a four-run outburst in the first inning. RJ Williams got the party started with a double and he scored on a Scott Ota single with nobody out. Sean Watkins was hit by a pitch following Ota and then Chandler Bengston walked to load the bases, still with nobody out. Ryan McCarthy bounced into a fielder’s choice that scored Ota and gave the Legends a 2-0 lead. After a strikeout from Patrick McColl, the Legends needed a big boost and they got it from Ryan Rosa. The second baseman doubled to the gap in left center field to score Watkins and McCarthy and put the four spot on the board in the first inning. The Legends would never surrender the lead in the contest as the added one more run in the second after RJ Williams doubled once again and scored on a double-play. Alexander Hernandez made his second start of the summer and he made it count, going the first four innings of the shortened ballgame to earn his fourth victory of the summer. He allowed just two hits, one unearned run, didn’t walk anybody, and struck out three. A trio of Legends relievers would combine to allow just one run in the final three innings, featuring the third save of the summer for Calvin Riley. Legends 5, Crawdads 2.
Game two saw much of the same for Menlo Park, highlighted by the stellar pitching from Jameson Kruger. Another Legend making just his second start of the summer, he seemed to be in midseason form based on the stuff he had Wednesday night. He allowed a leadoff single to former-Legend Philip Caulfield, and…that was it. He retired the next fifteen hitters he faced through his five innings of work. Just the one hit allowed and he struck out two. His location was superb and his fastball was missing barrels all night long. The Crawdads just could not answer Kruger as he went on to earn his second victory of the summer. The Legends scored in every inning but the second en route to putting up seven runs on the board. Offensive standouts of the game would feature Chandler Bengston who went 2-4 with a double, a run scored, and a run batted in; Miguel Pimental, who went 3-4 with a double; and Ryan McCarthy who went 2-3 with a walk and a run scored. The Crawdads made it interesting in the final two innings, scoring four runs off of Sheldon McClelland, but the Legends were able to walk away with the doubleheader sweep. Legends 7, Crawdads 4.
The California Collegiate League Playoffs begin on Friday in Compton and will feature four teams who come into the playoffs with a lot of momentum. The Neptune Beach Pearl will meet the Santa Barbara Foresters in game one, while the Conejo Oaks will battle with the Academy Barons in game two. The three day dance will conclude with the championship round on Sunday, July 31. Complete playoff action can be found on calsummerball.com.