By Frank Smith
The San Manuel varsity baseball team won two of their last three games of the regular season to qualify for the state tournament. The Miners took a loss to Pusch Ridge but picked up two wins over St. Gregory in double header action, earning the 18-seed in the playoffs.
San Manuel hosted the Lions from Pusch Ridge on April 23, taking the loss 11 – 2. The Lions scored one run in the second inning, two runs in the third inning, seven runs in the fourth inning, and one run in the seventh inning while the Miners scored one run in the first inning and one run in the third inning.
Pusch Ridge scored 11 runs on 10 hits and San Manuel scored two runs on four hits.
On the mound for the Miners was Richard Romo with T.J Brown catching with Bryan Valdez coming in for relief.
Romo allowed 10 hits, three for doubles, one home run, 11 runs – six earned, struck out three batters and walked four.
Offensively, Bryan Valdez went 2 for 3 with a double, a triple, and one RBI; Demetrious Dietz went 1 for 3 with a double, and one RBI; Martin Rodriguez went 1 for 2; and Shane Kelly went 2 for 3.
“This was not a good game for us at all,” head coach Steve Elmore said. “Most of the time we did hit the ball, but we just hit it right to them. We still committed to many errors that gave a good hitting team extra outs and it hurt us. We need to play better baseball.”
On April 24, the Miners hosted the Hawks from St. Gregory in a double header – in the first game San Manuel outscored the Hawks 14 – 1 for the win.
St. Gregory scored their only run in the second inning while San Manuel scored two runs in the first inning, six runs in the second inning, four runs in the third inning, and two runs in the fourth inning.
The Hawks scored one run on two hits and the Miners scored 14 runs on 17 hits.
On the mound for the Miners was John Ruiz with Christian Dietz catching. Ruiz picked up the win, allowing two hits, one run – one earned, struck out three batters, and walked five batters.
Offensively, John Ruiz went 3 for 4 with a home run, a double, scored three runs, and collected eight RBIs; Demetrious Dietz went 3 for 4 with a double, a run scored, and two RBIs; Shane Kelly went 2 for 2 with four runs scored; and Bryan Valdez went 2 – 2 with four runs scored.
“We played a much better game against St. Gregory than we did against Pusch Ridge,” Elmore said. “We were able to hit the ball where they weren’t and that made a difference in the score. John pitched a good game and gave us the opportunity to make the plays in the field and get the win.”
In the second game against the Hawks, the Miners picked another win 9 – 7 over St. Gregory to end regular season play.
The Hawks scored all seven of their runs in the second inning while the Miners scored one run in the first inning, five runs in the second inning, one run in the third inning, one run in the fifth inning, and one run in the sixth inning.
St. Gregory scored seven runs on three hits and San Manuel scored nine runs on 14 hits.
On the mound for the Miners was T.J Brown with Jakkob Torres catching with Shane Kelly coming in to relive. Brown allowed three hits, seven runs, struck out seven batters, and walked five.
Offensively, Demetrious Dietz went 3 for 4 with two doubles, one run scored, and one RBI; John Ruiz went 2 for 4 with a home run, two runs scored, and three RBIs; Martin Rodriguez went 2 for 3 with a triple, one run scored, and one RBI; and Shane Kelly went 2 for 4 with one RBI, and one run scored.
“The game was much closer than it should have been,” Elmore said. “We walked to many batters and with timely hitting St. Gregory was able to score seven runs in the second inning. Lucky for us, we stopped walking people and let our defense make the plays.”
“Hitting wise, we did good scoring nine runs,” he added. “They helped us out a little by make errors, but we will take the win.”
The Miners took on the 15-seed Mogollon on Tuesday in the first round of the Division IV State Tournament in Goodyear, and with the win San Manuel will move on to face the #2 seed St. Johns on Friday at 6:30 p.m. on field #4 at the Goodyear Baseball Complex in Goodyear.