Bears Battle Back Against Live Oak in Dominant Win

3 mins read

Photos by John Diepenbrock

On Saturday afternoon, the baseball team took on the Live Oak Acorns and came out on top, snatching a big 9-4 win to up their record to 5-4 on the season. 

After a difficult loss to Los Gatos on Wednesday and a back-and-forth season to this point, the Bears look to build on the momentum of this game moving forward. 

Senior catcher Trevor Heinz said, “We know that we are a better team than our record shows, and I think everyone showed up today ready to fight and put their best stuff out there.”

Long winds up for his pitch

Senior pitcher Harrison Long started the game for the Bears in what was a pitcher’s dual up until the fourth inning. Long wowed spectators, putting together an almost flawless first three innings that included five straight strikeouts, as he located his pitches and stayed in the zone against Live Oak batters who couldn’t get a handle on it. 

Offensively, the Bears started out slow, going down in order the first two innings before senior outfielder Luke Durden smashed a ball into the left-center field in the third inning, notching a double to get the game’s first hit. Senior outfielder Rowan Kelly reached on an error before junior shortstop Will Roberts grounded out to end the inning, but M-A had signs of life before the fourth. 

On his early season success, Durden said, “I’m just seeing the ball a lot better in the zone and taking advantage of it.” As for his signature double celebration, Durden added, “The mop has been kinda a trend on the Bears this season, so I had to bring it out.”

Durden skies a ball into left-center field for a double

In the fourth inning, things began to go awry for the Bears. After a strikeout, a Live Oak runner reached second base after a single and an error, before another error and subsequent single brought home the first run of the game, giving the Acorns a one-run lead. Long walked another batter before a few wild pitches broke the game open and two more runners crossed the plate. 

Heinz helped execute an impressive defensive play to keep the Acorns at bay, as the Live Oak runner on first took off for second and the runner on third took off for home. He threw to the charging Roberts, who threw it right back and gunned down the Acorn to derail Live Oak’s momentum, and a gusty strikeout ended the inning and the day for Long with the Bears down three to zero. 

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Bears knew they had to get on the board and answer right back. Junior designated hitter Jack Molise started the rally with a leadoff double, followed up by a double by Heinz that sent Molise to third. Junior outfielder David Lopez got the Bears on the board with a sac fly, before sophomore second baseman Ryder Kelly did the same, and the Bears scratched across two runs to make the game three to two.

Molise said, “I was feeding off the energy from my guys. When I got that leadoff double, I knew that Trevor was gonna come up and get on base and that David was gonna get me home. Even when we were down 3-0, we’ve been talking all week about making sure we aren’t down in those moments, so it was nice to have the boys behind me to keep that cycle going.”

With two outs in the fourth, M-A kept it going: junior third baseman Ronan Cutright drew a walk, senior first baseman Joaquin Baranchuk got plunked, and Durden laid down a bunt to bring in Cutright. Rowan Kelly then broke the game open, crushing a two-run double just short of the wall to bring home both runners and put the Bears ahead five to three at the end of the fourth inning. 

Sophomore pitcher Wes Peterson took the fifth inning, pitching around a walk to keep the Acorns scoreless. 

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Bears got back to the heart of their order. Molise sent a single screaming up the middle, and Heinz laid down a beautiful bunt for a hit to set the table. Ryder Kelly then reached on an error and sent Molise home for the sixth run of the game. Baranchuk walked after a Cutright ground out, bringing up Durden with two outs and the base loaded, a golden make-or-break opportunity for M-A to add some insurance runs. Durden then sent a ball soaring over the head of the Acorn left fielder and cleared the bases on his second double of the day and fourth RBI, making the score nine to three. 

Peterson delivers from the mound

Peterson worked through a few walks aided by an incredible back-pick from Heinz to get a Live Oak runner at first, letting the Acorns scratch across one run in the sixth inning. The Bears went down in order, and senior pitcher James Gray made quick work of the Live Oak offense, slamming the door shut for a nine to-four win with the help of the star catcher Heinz capping off his day by gunning down another runner attempting to steal second. 

Heinz said about the game, “We’ve got momentum now, all we need is a couple of wins and everyone starts feeling it. Winning is contagious, if we get one we can get a few more.”

The Bears open league play at Sacred Heart Prep on Wednesday afternoon. 

Sam Leslie is a senior at M-A and is in his second year of journalism. As a sports editor, he both reports on games and helps oversee the Chronicle's sports reporting. He also has done extensive reporting on Detracking and other equity issues. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, watching sports, and listening to music.

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