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Patient Mater Dei wins Newport Elks title
ORANGE – Patience is known to be a virtue both in life and in baseball.
But it might mean a little more to those who can knock the runner in from scoring position with two outs and those who can put the ball in play in a crucial two-strike count.
The Mater Dei baseball team took the old adage to heart Friday night in the Lerner Division final of the Newport Elks Tournament, breezing past St. John Bosco, 10-4, with a little bit of both.
“We’ve been really working on that the last couple of weeks,” Mater Dei coach Burt Call said. “It’s just coming out and proving it. We did a nice job of getting two-out RBI and putting the ball in play with two strikes. That’s always been our approach.”
The Monarchs (4-1), who defeated Bosco (3-3-1) for the 10th consecutive game, scored six runs with two outs and sprayed 13 hits. Four of those base-hits came with two-strike counts in critical situations.
Mater Dei overcame an unusually short outing by starting left-handed pitcher Rece Goodman, who went just 11/3 innings. Ben Kane and Austin Reyes were both effective in relief for the Monarchs.
Reyes also went 2 for 3 at the plate and delivered a two-out, two-run triple to left field in the first inning. The extra-base hit opened an early 4-0 lead for Mater Dei.
Josh Stephen, who has committed to USC, went 4 for 5 with two RBI and a run scored. The junior left fielder padded Mater Dei’s lead with a pair of two-out RBI singles in the second and fifth innings.
The latter was part of a four-run inning that saw the Monarchs bring nine men to the plate.
“We just wanted to come out here and make a statement,” Stephen said. “We knew they were going to come out here with arms that could throw, and all of our hitters came up trying to hit the ball up the middle.”