By Frank Smith
The San Manuel varsity baseball team has been busy on the diamond in the first part of the season, taking their ups and downs along the way, learning to work hard together to get the W’s. They managed to get the big win over Hayden for a record of 2 – 3 in the region and 4 – 6 overall.
The Miners started off the season at the Padilla Tournament in Florence on Feb. 27 with a 7 – 3 loss to Bourgade Catholic. The Miners scored two runs in the first inning and one run in the fourth inning while Bourgade Catholic scored two runs in the first inning, three runs in the second inning, and two runs in the third inning.
On the second day of the tournament, San Manuel took another loss to Show Low 10 – 0 with the Cougars scoring two runs in the second inning, one run in the third inning, five runs in the fourth inning, and two runs in the fifth inning. The Miners had five hits and committed one error while the Cougars scored 10 runs on eight hits and committed one error.
On Mar. 1, the Miners picked up the win over Ray 9 – 7 with the Bearcats scoring one run in the first inning, five runs in the second inning, and one run in the fourth inning while the Miners scored six runs in the second inning and three runs in the third inning. Ray scored seven runs on six hits and committed no errors; San Manuel scored nine runs on 10 hits and committed one error.
The Miners took the victory over Apache Junction 8-4 then finished the tournament with a tough loss to Blue Ridge 4 – 1.
Stepping up for the Miners during the tournament was Jacob Marquez, who went 5 for 7 with two singles, one double, one triple, and one home run. Anthony Garcia went 4 for 6 with two doubles and two home runs with one of them being a grand slam. Marty Rodriguez went 4 for 8 with three singles and one double and John Ruiz went 4 for 9 with three doubles and a home run.
Head coach Steve Elmore said overall, it was a good tournament. “We went into it, wanted to play as much baseball as we could and get back into the swing of things on the field and at the plate,” Elmore said. “A lot of guys did really well and others saw what they need to work on. I am very happy with how we played as a team, we just need to cut down on the errors during games and we should be just fine for the season.”
The Miners got the regular season hosting the Ray Bearcats on Mar. 7 taking the loss 13 – 4 in a region game. San Manuel then traveled over to Hayden to take on the Lobos coming away with a close 6 – 4 win picking up their first region win.
On Mar. 13, the Miners made the trip up to Globe to take on the Tigers taking a 15 – 0 loss in the process. San Manuel then hosted the Desert Christian Eagles from Tucson on Mar. 21 and took another tough loss 19 – 5.
The Miners hosted Hayden on Mar. 22 sending the Lobos home early in the 6th inning on the ten-run mercy rule with San Manuel picking up the 14 – 4 win.
The Lobos score two runs in the first inning, one run in the fourth inning, and one run in the fifth inning while the Miners scored one run in the first inning, three runs in the second inning, five runs in the fourth inning, one run in the fifth inning, and four runs in the sixth inning to end the game.
The Lobos scored four runs on four hits and the Miners scored 14 runs on 10 hits.
On the mound for the Miners was Jakob Torres with Trent Brown catching. Bryan Valdez came in to relive Torres in the fourth inning. Torres (1 -1) picked up the win allowing four hits, one for a double, four runs – three earned, collected three strikeouts, and walked three.
Offensively, Demetrious Dietz went 2 for 4 with a double, and scored two runs, John Ruiz went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, and Trent Brown went 2 for 4 with a double, and four RBIs.
“This was by far the most focused we have been before any game this season,” Elmore said. “We had some struggles early on, but hopefully we can turn the corner and get some good wins in the upcoming weeks. We have a lot of talent on this team; the players just have to realize to play within themselves and not try to do too much in the field or at the plate.”
In Junior Varsity action, the Miners took a loss to Walden Grove 12 – 8, picked up wins over Ray 8 – 1, Empire 8 – 2, and Hayden 17-0 while taking the loss to Globe 13 – 7.
The Miners varsity squad traveled to Superior on Tuesday and will host St. Gregory on Friday for a double-header with the first game starting at 2 p.m.