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American Energy rolls into championship series

Entering the senior midget playoffs as the No.1 seed this week, American Energy (AE) validated its top ranking with a series sweep against fourth-seeded KJT Hall (KJT) on Wednesday night.
AE (12-2) scored at least three runs in four of five innings to seal the deal with a 14-7 victory after a 10-5 win over KJT on Monday. AE out-hit KJT 6-2 and committed fewer errors (7-4).
“It’s been a really good year so far and great pitching got us here, along with some timely hitting,” said AE coach Greg Jenkins.
“I’m proud of the guys for playing hard all year and trying to learn the fundamentals,” said KJT coach Larry Diaz.
“We did our best to give [AE] a good game.”
Timothy Marchbanks had a huge night for AE with a grand slam, an RBI single and a single. Trevor Galetka connected on an RBI single, while Tyler Crow (double) and Jackson Pate (single) also registered hits.
Nicholas Arreola chipped in offensively with a pair of RBIs. Marchbanks (4 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 6 W, 4 SO) got the win on the mound, while Trevor Galetka (1 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 4 W, 1 SO) got the save.
Renee Benavidez led KJT with a single and two RBIs. Jose Ruiz singled as teammates Dylan Crow and Chris Deagan notched RBIs. Benavidez (4 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 4 W, 5 SO) went most of the way on the hill, while Bo Kalinec (1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 4 W, INT W, 2 SO) finished the contest.
AE made sure to start fast in its initial at bat as Marchbanks and Trevor Galetka both smacked RBI singles. Arreola added an RBI as he reached base on an error while a fourth run came in on another error. KJT second baseman Dylan Crow did a nice job of scooping up a groundout for his team.
“Trevor has been a great player all year and he gives us some important pitching depth,” Jenkins said.
“Nicholas has also been great for us, especially as a rookie in this league.”
KJT pulled within 4-3 in the bottom of the inning without a hit. Benavidez tallied an RBI when he reached base on an error and a couple of other runs came via miscues. Marchbanks did produce consecutive strikeouts to make sure his team stayed in front.
“Timothy has been such a great pitcher with three shutouts this year,” Jenkins said.
While a couple of walks and an error quickly loaded the bases in the AE second, KJT third baseman Nathan Diaz came up big when he fielded a ball and fired it to catcher Josh Valdez for a force at home. Marchbanks put his team in firm command, however, with a well-struck grand slam to right field. It could’ve been much worse than 8-3 if KJT shortstop Kalinec hadn’t followed the huge hit with an impressive pair of fielded groundouts.
“Timothy has been up and down on his hitting, but obviously he’s got the ability to have big games,” Jenkins said.
“A grand slam is great anytime, especially in the playoffs.”
“I tell the guys to always think about where they need to go with the ball and Nathan was paying attention there to make a big play [on the force],” the KJT coach said.
“Bo can make some really good defensive plays with his big arm at shortstop.”
The home team battled its way to 8-5 in the bottom of the inning as Ruiz singled while Dylan Crow and Deagan both put bat on ball for RBIs. First baseman Kyle Keever fielded a pair of groundouts to ensure AE still played with the lead.
“Jose has come around late in the year and played better for us,” Diaz said.
“Dylan is an energetic guy who’s always ready to play ball.”
Both teams went quietly in the third as Benavidez struck out a pair and fielded a groundout in the top of the frame. Keever fielded a pair of groundouts once again in the KJT third while catcher Tyler Crow hauled in a foul popout. Keever was a busy man in the ballgame with six unassisted defensive outs.
“Kyle has always been a great first baseman,” Jenkins said.
“He’s got very good instincts about playing the ball.”
Tyler Crow opened the AE fourth with a double down the right-field line and promptly scored on Arreola’s RBI groundout. Marchbanks and Pate each singled in the inning as AE plated another couple of runs on errors for an 11-5 cushion.
“Jackson always has a great attitude and is a good hitter to boot,” Jenkins said.
The KJT fourth was highlighted by a tremendous double play courtesy of the AE defense. With two runners on, the man at first sped to second base while the lead runner stood his ground.
Catcher Tyler Crow fired the ball to Keever for the out at first. Keever then hurled the ball over to third as Trevor Galetka made the grab and ensuing tag in plenty of time.
“KJT was aggressive on the bases and we needed to make the play,” Jenkins said.
“Our guys knew how to pull off the double play and had great instincts about it.”
Walks meant trouble for KJT in the AE fifth as the visitors scored three runs without a hit. Arreola stole home for his team, while KJT catcher Valdez did make a nice play. The lead AE runner sped home on a passed ball with the bases loaded, but Valdez hustled to get an unassisted out at home.
“Josh is always hustling and it paid off there to save a run,” Diaz said.
Down to its last at bat of the season, KJT did manage to put a couple of runs on the board as Benavidez smacked an RBI single to right and Jon Rios added an RBI with a bases-loaded walk.
AE made two great defensive plays late as Tyler Crow snared a superb running foul popup while Keever wrapped up his big night in the field with a running fly grab.
“Renee is one of my go-to guys and he’ll be a great player in the years to come,” Diaz said.
“Tyler is a consistent player for us,” Jenkins said.
“His second [caught] foul popout was huge to help us get that first out with runners on base. The city championship [beginning Monday] will come down to which pitcher throws strikes. At the plate, we just want to swing at strikes and put the ball in play.”

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Posted by on Jun 19 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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