May 22, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Behind a complete game from Caleb Jiménez, Santa Ana beats Calvary Chapel 4-1 in league opener

Santa Ana pitcher Caleb Jímenez makes a delivery during the seventh inning against Calvary Chapel.

Santa Ana pitcher Caleb Jiménez digs deep in the seventh inning against Calvary Chapel. (Photos: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

Santa Ana High pitcher Caleb Jiménez tossed a complete game and worked out of a late jam to lead the Saints to a 4-1 victory over the Eagles on Friday at Bill Ross Field in the Orange Coast League opener for both teams.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

Jiménez went the distance throwing 75 pitches, struck out five batters and scattered five hits in seven innings.

The Saints hurler got the run support early as his offense scored once in the first inning, and tacked on three more during the middle innings of the game which allowed him to claim his second victory of the season.

“Caleb in my mind is probably one of the best pitchers in this league,” said Santa Ana Coach Chris Martin. “This is his second complete game with less than 80 pitches and he is a kid who just attacks the plate.”

Santa Ana’s offense was lead by second baseman Garret González, who went 2 for 3 with an RBI, while teammates Adrian González and Vincent Tinajero also drove in runs. Outfielder Drew Ramírez had two stolen bases for the Saints.

The Eagles (2-1, 0-1) were able to tie the game in the third inning when Brock Hiatt drove in Max Coyne. But Santa Ana (4-2, 1-0) was able to respond offensively. Calvary Chapel’s starting pitcher Sam Guardado allowed three earned runs and surrendered six hits.

During the late innings, both team’s pitching settled down until the seventh inning when Jiménez allowed two Eagles base-runners on, but he managed to settle down and forced Calvary Chapel to hit ground balls that represented no harm for the Saints infield defense.

Santa Ana will now play at Costa Mesa (3-3,1-1) on Tuesday, March 5, while Calvary Chapel will host Estancia (4-3, 1-0).

After a positive start this season the Saints believe they will contend in OCL play.

“I think we’ve set high expectations for ourselves. We know we have a lot of talent. It’s raw talent. We’re trying to hold it in to make sure that we’re competitive in each and every game,” Martin said.

“Our big things right now are making sure that we have quality at bats every time we go to the plate, throwing strikes when we’re on the mound, and that we are protecting the ball when we’re on defense. And if we do all those three things we got a really good chance of beating anybody who is in front of us.”

Martin said his team has respect for all the teams in the league.

“We assume everybody has a great team,” he said. “That’s the only way we’re going to come out every game. We have to respect our opponents. Everyone in front of us we think is coming out to beat us and is capable of doing it.”

Pitching will determine the prospects of the season for the Saints according to  assistant coach David Silva.

“We got a a thick and complete rotation. We got about 10 young men who can take us very deep in games.” said Silva. “We expect good things. We got good kids and above anything very good student-athletes. It’s good to be here because we’re all willing to work and hoping for good things.”

-Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone