Boys Baseball Bested by Pioneer

2 mins read

Photos by John Diepenbrock

On Saturday afternoon, the baseball team took on the Pioneer Mustangs in a non-league game. Prior to the game, M-A had won seven of its last eight games but were unable to continue their momentum in a 7-3 loss. 

Junior Tyler Rosenthal started for M-A, with junior catcher J.T. Anderson behind the dish. Rosenthal had a rocky start, giving up a single before walking the second batter. A strikeout and a groundout gave the Bears hope to exit the inning unscathed, but another walk before Pioneer’s first big hit, a rocket to left-center field for a double, brought home the first two runners of the game. 

In an early 2-0 hole, the Bears knew they had work to do in the bottom of the first. Senior outfielder Rowan Kelly got right to it, drawing a walk and stealing second base, later advancing to third on a wild pitch for an early runner in scoring position. Junior outfielder Jack Molise then grounded out to bring in Rowan Kelly, making the score 2-1. 

Rosenthal impressed in his second inning of work, setting the Mustang batters down in order. In the third, he had trouble finding the zone and exited the game with runners on first and third and one out. Senior Joaquin Baranchuk then took the mound, giving up a single that scored both Mustangs before getting two outs and ending the inning with M-A down 4-1. 

On the offensive side, one of M-A’s lone bright spots was junior infielder Ronan Cutright. In the second inning, Cutright doubled to the outfield, hoping to spark a rally for M-A before being stranded.

In the top of the fourth, Baranchuk struck out the first batter he faced and induced two fly balls to keep M-A in the game. Then, sophomore designated hitter Ryder Kelly singled up the middle and stole second, only to score after another double from Cutright to right field.

Cutright said, “The pitcher didn’t dictate my approach. I knew I was going to get a pitch or two to hit each at-bat, which I did. It came down to what Will Roberts said to me, “Don’t think, just swing. And whatever happens, we’ll deal with”.’

In the fifth, Baranchuk once again held the Mustangs scoreless, putting up a great pitching performance after letting his two inherited runners score in the third inning. About his perseverance, Baranchuk said, “I just know, I gotta get outs the next inning, I gotta do my job. There’s no point in sulking once something has already happened. Once it’s happened, you have to let it go and find a way to dig in and get the next job done.” 

In the bottom of the fifth inning, M-A strung together a couple of hits to get another run on the board, on the backs of an Anderson single and a double from Rowan Kelly that nearly cleared the fence in deep center field, bringing the score to 4-3 with two innings left to play. 

Mateo Cuellar-Koh slides across home plate

Baranchuk’s sixth inning was much the same as his last two, as he struck out two more hitters and kept Pioneer off the board. Unfortunately, he walked the first two batters of the seventh, exiting the game with a line of four innings, two runs, and four strikeouts. Pioneer’s continued walk parade of the seventh, combined with some strong situational hitting brought in three more runs, and left M-A down 7-3 with their last ups to come. 

Baranchuk throws from the windup

While the Bears were unable to mount a comeback after going down in order, they still found value in their non-league loss, partly as they got to enter some younger Bears of the future into the lineup. 

Cutright said, “Non-league games still matter in CCS, and help with momentum going into the next week of league games. Playing well allows you to prove that you deserve playing time. Playing time allows for an impact to be made for the team in the future, and that’s the goal.”

M-A’s next visit to the diamond will be next Saturday afternoon at home against Homestead, where they will look to get back to their winning ways. 

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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