By Gabriel Bernstein June 18, 2024

Legends Sweep a Weekend on the Road

Updated: June 18, 2024

The Legends swept a trio of late-evening road games over the past weekend with a couple of wins at the Alameda Merchants and one against the San Francisco Seagulls, improving their California Collegiate League (CCL) record to 5–2.

The club entered Friday an even 2–2 in CCL play after dropping their lone home game of the week to the Merchants on Wednesday. Menlo starter AJ Valle and right-hander Reese Lueck kept the mid-week tilt a tie at three runs apiece through five innings. Alameda did not so much surge as slowly move ahead with a run in the sixth and a five-spot in the seventh. Six free passes and a hit by pitch concentrated in those two innings dragged down the pace of the game and the Legends’ chances in what was ultimately a 9–7 loss.

At the College of Alameda on Friday, the Legends rebounded against the same opponent. The star of the contest offensively was without a doubt LF Vascon Smith. From the ninth spot in the lineup, he launched a pair of two-run home runs out to left field, both off of Merchants right-hander Harry Tooze. The long balls from Smith were the first—and second—for the Legends since entering their CCL schedule. Smith’s RBIs alone outscored the Merchants that evening, but Menlo did add on to win 9–3.

Smith also keyed a timely late rally the following evening in the Legends’ first encounter with the San Francisco Seagulls. Heading into the top of the eighth, Menlo led by a slim 2–1 margin, but traffic began to build. One run crossed on a bases-loaded walk to 2B Kody Watanabe, and Smith came on as a pinch-hitter. He knocked a bases clearing double to break the game open to 6–1, which held for the final score. Smith’s whopping seven RBIs in two games put him in the team lead in that category.

Third baseman Kanan Treece drove in the first two runs of the Legends’ 9-3 win over the Alameda Merchants on June 14.

The four-run eighth included four walks, indicating that for as much as walks have plagued the Legends pitching staff, the offense has been taking advantage of opposing hurlers’ struggles with command and demonstrating solid plate discipline. The team on-base percentage has been hovering near the .400 mark.

On the mound against the Seagulls, meanwhile, Richard Kiel, Matthew McConnell and Dawson Radik combined for a quality pitching performance. Kiel continued his dominant start to the summer, punching out seven in 4⅓ scoreless innings. His ERA sits at 1.13 for the full season and at 1.83 in CCL games. To preserve the shutout stat line on Saturday, though, Kiel needed a heroic bailout. Manager Chris DeBoo pulled Kiel in the fifth with runners on second and third, and brought in McConnell. McConnell whiffed the next two batters—the top two in the Seagulls order—to strand the runners and maintain a 2–0 lead. The righty went on to pitch through the eighth and record the win.

Menlo’s defense behind its pitchers has been sound to this point as well, not giving other teams many extra outs and opportunities. While errors do not speak comprehensively to all the aspects of fielding, Menlo has committed significantly fewer errors than its CCL opponents, and has but one unearned run allowed on its ledger.

A 3–0 shutout against Alameda capped off the successful weekend. Since the Merchants’ five-run seventh on Wednesday, the Legends arms have conceded just four runs.

The Legends have also taken four of five head-to-head with the Merchants early on, and now only two encounters remain in the season series. The team will not return to play the Merchants as visitors until July 20.

Up next, Menlo will carry its three-game win streak into play Wednesday at the College of San Mateo for their first matchup of the season with the Walnut Creek Crawdads. Another full weekend then awaits, as the team will return to San Bruno City Park to face the Seagulls Friday evening, visit the Crawdads on Saturday afternoon, and host the Crawdads on Sunday.