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Select baseball Ennis Lions ascend into North Texas’ elite group

The Ennis Lions 12U-AA select baseball team hasn’t been together very long, but the players are performing at an extremely high level and garnering more respect by the day.
In early May, the Lions went 6-0 to take first in Irving’s Mayfest Tournament. At the time, it was the biggest accomplishment in the team’s history.
Just two weeks later, the boys representing the Bluebonnet City set a much higher standard of excellence. Competing among a loaded 16-team field in Benbrook’s Best of the West Tournament, the Lions pulled 6-0 out of their collective ballcap again for another tourney triumph last Sunday.
“We got on a roll and the kids are really clicking together,” said manager Gabe Martinez.
“This was a much tougher road – all four Sunday opponents were ranked in the area top 10 for 12U-AA. We had high expectations at the beginning of the season and now the guys are making it happen on the field.”
On the heels of their gigantic win, the Lions are now ranked No. 3 out of over 150 12U-AA teams in the North Texas zone. Last Saturday, Ennis began the tournament with a 19-4 win over the Texas Twisters and a 7-4 victory over the Lake Worth Bulldogs.
On Sunday, the Lions opened up against the then-No. 1 Colleyville Cats at noon and emerged with a statement-making 10-6 win. Needing to win a trio of consecutive games from there, Ennis beat the Keller Red Hawks 8-4 at 4 p.m., downed the Lake Worth Bulldogs again 9-2 at 6 p.m. and came away victorious against the North Texas Wildcats 9-7 in an 8 p.m. contest.
“Harris [King] pitched well to shut down Lake Worth in the semis,” Martinez said.
“The toughest test was the championship game, which went back and forth most of the way. Our bats struggled for a while, but we pulled through at the end.”
Ennis’ top pitchers in the tournament included Drew Coslin (7 IP, 2 R, 8 H, 1 W, 12 SO), King (4 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 3 W, 6 SO), Brian Archibald (8 IP, 10 R, 16 H, 2 W, 8 SO) and Jared Dixon (4 1/3 IP, 7 R, 9 H, 4 W, 5 SO).
“We were able to save Drew (four innings left) and Brian (two innings left) – our top two pitchers – for the championship game, which was the key,” Martinez said.
“To win these tournaments, you have to have great pitching late on Sunday. Drew was big in a closer role for us leading up to the final. We also continued to play great defense.”
Several of the Lion hitters put up some mind-boggling stats in the tournament considering they were facing some of the toughest teams around at the AA level. Brian French (.929, 9 RBI, 2 HR) flirted with perfection, while Jonathan Coronado (.727, 2 RBI), Coslin (.700, 3 RBI), Weston Quick (.643, 7 RBI), Archibald (.600, 4 RBI) and Dixon (.583, 10 RBI) were all outstanding.
“Some of our big guys struggled with their bats at times in the tournament, but Brian French and Weston were red hot throughout,” Martinez said.
“They reached base most of the time and scored every time they got on. Coronado and Dixon had some big hits along the way too. I have faith in all our guys, so we batted all 12 players in the tournament throughout instead of using just nine.”
After Thursday’s 11-2 win over the Arlington Stixx, coming soon for the Lions is their greatest challenge yet – Dallas’ Little Heroes AAA wooden bat tourney at the end of the month. Taking a young AA team into the event, Martinez expects outstanding competition.
“If we keep on winning, we could move up to the AAA level,” he said.
“We’ve got a young team, but that would be an honor if it happens.”
The manager wanted to make sure to thank team sponsor Polyguard Products Inc, as well as the KJT Hall for letting the team use its practice field.
“I’ve been waiting for the moment when we really broke out,” Martinez said.
“The kids are playing so hard and staying together like a family. They really want to win and that’s a big part of our success. We’ve got a great group of parents and that’s a big help too.”
At this point, betting against the select Ennis Lions anytime would be a foolish wager.

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Posted by on May 23 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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