Dons soar above Eagles in offensive battle

Baseball Troy Kent and Connor Williams
Troy Kent, batting .421, and Connor Williams, batting .250, enjoying the moment after scoring. Photo by Dominic Crenshaw

After nine innings of explosive offense, the Dons won against Los Angeles Mission College 13-6 on March 4. 

Santa Ana scored four runs on two hits to take the lead in the bottom of the first inning. 

A monstrous second inning home run by first baseman Michael Poot displayed in full force the lethality of the offense. On a 2-0 count, with two outs, Poot delivered; sending the ball over the right-center field fence.

“First at-bat, I flew out on a high fastball so I wanted to look for something low. He came first pitch low, it was a ball, but I knew that’s what I was hunting for. Then he came back with another ball, 2-0. I just gear up and I’m gonna swing to hit it hard,” said Poot. “ I took a good swing on that low pitch. It was something I was hunting for and I put a great bat to the ball.”

In addition to Poot’s slug, the Dons found other ways to generate runs for the team.  Seven of the starting nine batters in the lineup had RBIs and Santa Ana scored runs in each of the first four innings.

However, they did not rely entirely on the long ball to score their runs. The team had twelve hits overall, with just four going for extra bases.  Three runs came courtesy of left fielder Jimmy De Anda, who turned in a 3-5 performance with three runs batted in.

Defensive errors were a common theme for both teams in the game. A total of eleven errors were committed between both sides. Of the nineteen total runs scored by both teams, eight were unearned. They were scored by baserunners who were only on base due to defensive errors.

“We’ve got to play better defense. I think that really helped carry us a lot last year, how good we were defensively,” said manager Tom Nilles.

The game began a bit rocky for starting pitcher Jaxton Andeel. The southpaw allowed three hits and three runs in the first inning. A wild pitch allowed one run to score. Two baserunners reached base on errors and later scored unearned runs. 

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Jaxton Andeel, boasting a 3.86 ERA, looking for a strikeout. Photo by Dominic Crenshaw

Andeel came back strong in the second inning, bolstered by the four runs his offense put on the board in the bottom of the first. He allowed only one hit in his next three innings of work. Andeel was removed from the game in the fourth after two walks and a pitcher’s error loaded the bases. 

James Showalter came into the game as relief with the bases loaded. Despite entering into a  tense situation, the freshman performed. He forced a ground ball from the first batter he faced that resulted in an inning-ending double play.

“I was just trying to throw strikes and get my team out of it. I’ve been out for the past two weeks with an elbow injury so it felt good to finally be back healthy on the mound throwing strikes,” said Showalter. 

The Dons defense still flashed stellar moments on Saturday. Catcher Mario Tostado threw out two runners attempting to steal bases, one at second base and one at third. 

Even though the Dons went home with a dominant victory, Nilles believes the team can be even better.

“We’re 10-6 and haven’t played our best baseball, hopefully we can keep getting better game by game and play our best baseball by the back end of the season,” said Niles.

Santa Ana’s record improves to 10-6 overall with the win. They kickoff conference play on Tuesday, March 7, at home against Orange Coast College.

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