Mater East Defeats Champagnat For 2A-14 Championship
Manager Laz Abreu held up the 2A-14 trophy high in front of his elated team, showing it the symbol of its hard work as district champions.
The Scorpions clutched the championship title from the only other team in their district, the Champagnat Lions, sweeping them in every meeting the two had this year. Both teams brought out their A game for the title, but Mater’s dominant performance on both sides of the field secured a 3-0 victory.
“We’ve been waiting a while for it,” Abreu said about the effort it took to win a championship. “Last year, we fell short by two runs, and I think this year, the kids knew what was in stake. It took a lot of hard work to get this to this point, but we still need to continue with the road ahead. We’re going to play some tough teams, but we want to get to state.”
Mater East joined the district two years ago and has been vying for a title ever since. Their ballclub consists of some young talented players, including their ace Renny Tolentino, whose standout performance left Champagnat stupefied from his speed and consistency and only allowed for them to get one hit for the game.
Tolentino stayed poised throughout the contest, never hinting a lack of stamina or speed in his performance. He positioned the ball well, daring batters to chase his breaking ball, and struck out five batters, never allowing more than four Lions to face him in an inning.
“That’s a kid that put this team on his shoulder,” Abreu said. “He is a true captain, battled in their every single pitch in every single inning. I remember seeing a text from him yesterday, late at night, saying ‘coach, I’m ready to deliver the goods,’ and I was happy to know that he is a very confident kid and that I could close my eyes and put him on the mound.”
But Tolentino’s performance was not the only highlight of game. Defense was sharp on both sides, stealing runs and hits from batters and making it a hard game to win.
Champagnat had a couple of handicaps in the game as the team lost four of its players throughout the season and had to move players to unfamiliar positions outside their comfort zones.
“We had three pitchers in the offense,” Manager Enrique Avila said. “We’re just playing a lot of kids out of positions right now. If we would have hit the ball more, though, it would have been a better game.”
Even with the Lions’ debilitation, their defense managed to stay intact, only allowing three runs and hustling through some tough plays to try to get back on the plate.
In the end, Mater East took home the championship trophy by producing the necessary runs and backing their ace with stellar fielding, and will be staying in the fray for regionals.
“Coach Abreu told us to treat this game like the biggest game in the world,” Tolentino said about Abreu’s pep talk before the game.