Angelo Songco Delivers in the Field, at the Plate in 9-4 St. Paul Saints Win
For those who haven’t noticed yet, this Angelo Songco is pretty good. In fact, he is very good. The St. Paul Saints first baseman continues to show why he is one of the most dangerous hitters in the league, but on this night he showed what a quality defender he is as well, as the Saints won their 17th game out of 19 Wednesday night.
This has been an amazing run the team is on in the 2015 season. The club has already swept four of the six series they have played, and have won all six series. They are 13-0 when scoring first and their 17-2 record is three games better than the Sioux City Explorers, who have the second best record in the American Association.
For the 13th time this season the club jumped out on top first. The Joplin Blasters started Rob Tejada and the right-hander struggled early against the Saints. Alonzo Harris led off the game with a single and stole second base, his eighth of the season. Sam Maus bunted him to third and Willie Argo followed with a hot shot that the Blasters third baseman was able to knock down, but not corral. The ball rolled behind him, and Harris came home to score as Argo reached first base. Ian Gac was next up and he lined a shot off the right-center field wall for his 14th double of the season in just 19 games. Mike Kvasnicka grounded out, scoring Argo and moving Gac to third. That brought Songco to the plate. The first pitch that Tejada threw found itself going deep and over the right field fence for a 4-0 lead.
In the top of the second the Joplin Blasters got two of those runs back against Saints starter Pedro Hernandez. Carlos Ramirez opened the inning with a base hit, but was replaced on the base paths on a fielder’s choice by Oscar Mesa. Former Saint Jake Taylor singled to left field moving Mesa to second and, following a wild pitch, Jesus Solorzano grounded out to score Mesa and move Taylor to third. Mitch Glasser plated the second run when he lined a shot just out of the reach of Maus that scored Taylor.
In the bottom of the second inning the St. Paul Saints responded with three runs of their own. Joey Paciorek doubled to start the inning, and moved to third when Anthony Phillips laid down a sacrifice bunt that went right back to Tejada. He turned and threw to third, but not in time, and runners were on first and third with no one out. Alonzo Harris lined a shot down the left line that he legged into a double. The shot plated Paciorek and moved Phillips to third. Two batters later Argo doubled, scoring both runners and staking the home team to a 7-2 lead.
In the top of fourth Joplin got another run. Jake Taylor took the first pitch of the fourth inning and deposited it over the left field wall for his third home run of the year.
The St. Paul Saints were kept off the scoreboard in the third and fourth innings, but in the fifth they added two more. Ian Gac led off the inning by drawing a walk. Kvasnicka reached on a fielder’s choice and scored when Vince DiFazio tripled to the wall in left field. A wild pitch brought home DiFazio and it was 9-3 Saints.
The Joplin Blasters would add an inconsequential run in the top of the ninth on an RBI double by Ramirez that would close the scoring out at 9-4.
The Blasters rapped out 14-hits on the night. Gomez was a perfect 5-5 to raise his average to .388. It was a bit of revenge for the left-handed hitter after seeing his seven-game hitting streak snapped Tuesday night. Tejada took the loss for Joplin to drop to (1-1).
Argo had another big night, going 3-4 with a run with 3 RBI. This followed the previous night’s performance where he was 3-4 with 3 runs scored. Harris also added 3 hits and scored twice.
Songco was the big story, getting the St. Paul Saints going with his first inning two-run homer. The first baseman was 2-5 with a run and 2 RBI. He is now alone atop the American Association in RBI. Hernandez got the win, moving him to 3-1. Songco also made two outstanding plays in the field. “I love taking hits away from opponents,” he explained with a smile after the game.
Read feature on American Association RBI leader Angelo Songco.
By Robert Pannier