The San Benito Babe Ruth 13 All Star team saw its season come to an end Monday in a 4-0 loss to Kern West in the semifinals of the state tournament in Bakersfield. San Benito opened up the tournament with a 6-5 win over Tulare before getting sent to the loser’s bracket after suffering a tough 5-4 loss to Kern West.
San Benito won its next two games—7-2 over Northwest Bakersfield and 3-2 over Santa Maria—to stay alive. But Kern West proved to be too tough, as San Benito managed only four hits in the elimination game. Nevertheless, San Benito had a solid season, as it won the District 1 tournament by sweeping Lodi in a best-of-three series, 7-0 and 16-1.
The roster includes Julian Gonzalez, Michael McShane, Jack Brothers, Ethan Coffeen, Tanner Burke, Jake Mahler, Nicolas Perez, Chase Freeman, Michael Canez, Keon Texeira, Primo Reyes, Dean Freund, Ethan Fowles and Andrew Flores.
“For the most part, the three coaches sat back and let the players do their thing,” San Benito manager Frank Reyes said. “They executed the game plan, and they really work well together. They’re supportive of each other and good at picking each other up. That’s why this was a special team.”
In the one-run win over Tulare, Brothers and Freeman had two hits each, and Gonzalez had two RBIs. Texeira had two walks and led the team with four quality at-bats. Freund pitched 3 1/3 innings. In the game against Santa Maria, Freeman pitched 4 1/3 innings to lead the way.
Gonzalez went six innings in the season-finale loss to Kern West, throwing 14 first-pitch strikes. In San Benito’s first game against Kern West, Canez and Texeira paced the team with three hits each. In the win over Bakersfield, San Benito finished with 13 hits. Canez had three hits, while Coffeen and Reyes had two each.
Reyes was proud of his team, especially in the way they battled throughout the All Star season. Texeira, Reyes and Gonzalez spearheaded a strong lineup, while Freeman, McShane and Gonzalez were tough on the mound. Freund, Flores, Coffeen, Perez, Texeira and Canez contributed in relief.
Canez and Brothers had a knack for driving in runs at critical moments. The team had to dig deep after playing a doubleheader last Sunday with the temperature topping out at 106 degrees.
“They were grinders,” Reyes said. “The doubleheader took a lot out of them. They were very leg weary and flat with the bats in the semifinals. The defense and pitching was very good for every game except the last game, but they still had productive, quality at-bats. It was a great adventure, and they left Bakersfield knowing they had gained something from the experience.”
San Benito’s 14-and-under team also made it to the state tournament, bowing out after losing its first two games. San Benito finished as the runner-ups in the District tournament, falling two games to one to Lodi. The 15-and-under team reached the district finals, falling to Lodi in the championship contest.
The 14s roster include Thomas Breen, Ruben Castaneda, Trevor Cordova, Jared Esparza, Braydon Etheridge, Scotty Freund, Eduardo Gonzalez, Elijah Hatchett, Ryan Io, Matt Lopez, Anthony Mercurio, Andrew Minana, Aidan Shaw, Zach Sims and Andrew Tobias. The 15s roster include Marcus Aranda, Jeremy Ashford, Jacob Casarez, Eric Green, Kaleb Guttirez, Kalvin Guttirez, Larry Martinez, Denny McAbee, Noah Perez, Gabe Razo, Moises Salazar, Nick Skardoutos, Jeremy Smith and Jake Yamasaki.