Exeter outscores opponents 62-3 to take small school championship, including a 16-0 win over Mission Oak
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
TULARE – Dominance is how one would describe the Monarchs (17-1) so far. Active bats, aggressive base running, and solid defense is what has led to their reign, traits clearly on display on Saturday and Monday during the Tulare Tribe Classic. On their way to taking the small school championship, they outscored their opponents 62-3.
“We are just having fun coming out hitting the ball as hard as we can,” Exeter head coach Karen Zeibak said. “These girls practice hard every single day, and they are out here doing what they know how to do.”
The onslaught ended with a 16-0 win over the Mission Oak Hawks (2-7) in the title game on Monday, March 26. The game resembled less of a championship and more of a batting practice for Exeter. From Corinne Acosta who led off, to Kayla Medrano, the number nine batter, every Monarch got on base at least once.
Like her position in the lineup, Acosta led the Monarchs going 4-4, scoring four runs and drove in three RBIs. Once on base, Acosta, along with the rest of her team, were given the green light to steal. As a team they stole 18 bases. Exeter’s speed and quickness is everywhere on their roster. Something Coach Zeibak likes about her team going further into the season.
Acosta bunted to get on base to open up the game. The next two pitches she stole second and third base. A double to left center field by Allison Paregien brought her in.
The bottom of the fourth inning was the last time Exeter batters stepped up to the plate. By then their lead had grown to 4-0. A throwing error by the Hawks and a double by Nicole Rocha put two runners on for Exeter. Taylor Hornburg, who made her way to third, stole home on a wild pitch during Acosta’s at bat. Then Acosta drove Rocha home to make it 6-0.
Later in the inning, with Exeter now leading 12-0, Acosta got another at bat. This time a single back up the middle brought both in to make the score 14-0.
“Acosta is amazing,” Zeibak said. “The majority of the game this tournament she was on at least three times, if not four or five.”
Exeter may have had a good grip on the game from the beginning, but Mission Oak was not without their chances. A couple innings they were able to get runners into scoring position. However, pitcher Brooklyn Blackmon was able to get out of the inning each time.
The young pitcher had a calm demeanor about her. Even in the top of the first when she was faced with runners on third and second. Having already gotten two outs helped her remain in control of her pitches. She was able to cause the next batter to hit a fly ball to Exeter’s first baseman for the final out.
“Being a freshman, she is learning every single game about how to control her pitches and gaining more confidence,” Zeibak said.
Blackmon gained a lot of confidence during the Monarchs first game against host the Tulare Union Tribe. She came out on the winning side of a 1-0 pitchers duel on Saturday. It was the Monarchs’ closest win of the tournament. In the first inning Acosta scored the game’s only run.
“I am really happy to come out on the winning side of this duel,” Blackmon said. “That union pitcher was really good.”
Both Blackmon and Zeibak admitted their teams hitting needed to improve, and with two more games on Saturday it had to quickly. In fact it did with wins over Tranquility, 20-0, and Minarets, 19-1. During the first game on Monday Exeter beat Sierra Pacific 6-2.
With only a couple non-league games to Exeter has to like the work they’ve put in so far. On Wednesday, April 4, they will travel to play the Fowler Redcats. The following night they host the Reedley Pirates. Both games are slated to begin at 4 p.m.