Sports

Menlo Park Legends open season with a pair of wins

 

The Menlo Park Legends opened their 2016 baseball season with back-to-back wins over the weekend. After posting a 10-6 win over the San Mateo Rounders on Saturday, the Legends defeated the Rally Factory Rockhounds just 24 hours later, 7-3.

Menlo Park will take its 2-0 record into Tuesday's game at the Walnut Creek Crawdads at 2 p.m. The road trip continues with games at the Alameda Merchants on Wednesday and Thursday at 5 p.m.

The first road game of the season for the Legends proved to be as successful as the first home game just 24 hours prior. Using another solid effort from the pitching staff and some timely hits, the Legends were able to muscle their way past the host Rally Factory Rockhounds in Solano on Sunday.

Early starts are usually the best way to bury the opposition, and Menlo Park put the Rockhounds in an early hole that proved insurmountable. Cristopher Castillo and RJ Williams led off the game with walks and, two batters later, Sean Watkins drove them both home with a two-run triple.

Not to be outdone, Chandler Bengston one-upped Castillo by launching a two-run homer that easily traveled well over 400 feet. It was Bengston's second two-run blast in as many days as he seems to be locked in to begin the season. The home run capped off a four-run first inning and the Legends never looked back.

Five different pitchers combined to throw nine solid innings for the Legends. Ryan Lefner got the nod to start. The first inning didn't get off to the best of starts after Lefner allowed a leadoff single and an RBI-double just two batters later. He settlef down and retiref the next five hitters with three strikeouts, finishing his day after two innings.

Jake Swiech was next in line, tossing the third frame. Turner Bishop came in for the fourth and stayed in for three innings, a surprise for someone who did not throw a single inning at Old Dominion in 2016. Bishop was sharp through his three innings of work, allowing just a single run. Elijah Saunders and Kevin Hahn combined to pitch the final three innings and shut the door.

Williams added a solo home run in the top of the seventh to cap off the scoring for Menlo Park. Williams finished the game with two hits and two runs scored. Watkins finished just a homer away from the cycle and scored twice, and Steven McLean added two hits to the team effort.

"The bats are off to a very hot start and the guys are finding good rhythm at the plate,"said Menlo Park manager David Klein. "Our pitchers have been aggressive with the strike zone and have delivered a lot of first-pitch strikes. All-in-all, it's been a great start to the season."

On Saturday, the Legends wasted no time exciting the home fans at Canada College in Redwood City by using four home runs to power their way past the San Mateo Rounders on Opening Day.

Bengston, Castillo, Turner Bishop, and Philip Caulfield all hit towering homers in the effort while the Legends got solid pitching outings from four different arms.

The scoring began in the second inning for the Legends after Ryan Rosa was hit by a pitch and stole second. Bengston stepped into the box and uncorked a no-doubter shot to right-center field for the first two runs of the game. After adding on a single run in the fourth, the Legends blew the game wide open in the bottom of the fifth. Castillo led off the inning with a solo homer to right field and, two batters later, Bishop deposited one into the exact same spot for a two-run blast.

The Legends continued to pour it on with an RBI-single from Patrick McColl and a two-run double from Caulfield.

Tanner Disibio got the Opening Day start for the Legends and looked very good for his two innings of work. Disibio allowed just one hit and struck out three batters, showing very good command of his fastball and secondary pitches. Sheldon McClelland relieved Disibio of his duties and pitched three innings, allowing a pair of runs in his final inning of work and officially getting the win.

San Mateo scored a pair of runs in the fifth, one in the sixth, and three more in the top of the seventh to make things interesting. The Rounders cut the deficit to 9-6 before Watkins came on in relief for the Legends. Watkins relieved Matt Bergandi and came on with two runners aboard and one out in the seventh. Watkins made quick work of the Rounders, getting a pair of strikeouts to end the threat and keep it a three-run game.

Caulfield added a solo home run to lead off the eighth inning for good measure, and Watkins pitched the final 2 2/3 innings to shut the door and give the Legends the victory.

— Menlo Park Legends/Palo Alto Online Sports

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