Young Champagnat Team Falls Short Against Summit Christian
Champagnat manager Enrique Avila knows that he has a young team, and with that youth comes even more challenges in molding this program into a contender.
So it did not bother him much that his young team of mostly freshmen were intimidated by the senior-laden Summit Christian team that they faced in Thursday’s HSBN Preseason Challenge matinee at North Broward Prep.
The Saints batters connected for four home runs on their way to a 13-2 victory.
“They’re young and they need work,” Avila said of his club. “They just need innings and games. It’s a group that has been put together, so they have to grow as a team. They’re all just a bunch of individuals right now, but the chemistry is there and it’s about just putting it all together.”
The Saints wasted no time in jumping out with the lead they would not relinquish. Leadoff man Brandon Swass walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Dakota Julyia. Then Ephrain Sanchez was hit by a pitch and Colin Smith reached on a fielder’s choice that erased Swass at third.
Senior Jesse Barton, who transferred to the school this year from Glades Day, then delivered a towering drive to left field for the team’s first home run and a 3-0 lead.
After Zach Lawrence singled to centerfield to extend the inning, sophomore outfielder Damian Haser found the sweet spot on a pitch and drove it high over the centerfield fence to push the Saints’ lead to 5-0.
“After we got an early lead I made sure to get everybody into the game in the second and third innings,” Saints manager John Drouin said. “That’s what it’s all about; just getting some work in. It was a good outing and I was happy with the performance.”
Haser added an RBI double in the third, and was brought in himself when Scott Murphy crushed a two-run home run to centerfield.
Swass added a three-run homer to right field in the top of the fourth.
While Avila accepts that he put his team to the fire early in matching them against the Saints, and also Highlands Christian in its other HSBN Preseason match up, he understands that the lumps they take today will greatly benefit them down the stretch this season.
Avila understands the results may not always be pretty, but the chance to compete at this high level of baseball is already doing wonders for his young squad.
Trailing 9-0, the Lions showed their mettle by grinding out a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Alejandro Vitre took the first pitch he saw in the fourth and slapped it through the right side of the defense. Shortstop Christian Sanchez then crushed the ball to deep centerfield, depositing the ball just over the head of Barton for a standup double. Two batters later, Guillermo Fonseca hit a bouncer to third base, which brought Vitre in when the fielder chose to throw to first base. Sanchez was also able to come around and cross home when the throw went wild.
“The team did not stop fighting and we still scored two off of them,” Avila said. “We are a team of mostly freshmen, so they were a little intimidated by their 11 seniors.”