Baseball: Exeter pulls into a three-way tie for first in the Central Sequoia League with Immanuel and Selma

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By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

EXETER – By sweeping the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers, the Monarchs pulled into a three-way tie at the top of the Central Sequoia League (CSL) standings with Immanuel and Selma. The middle game  of the series featured 10 strikeouts, in four-innings by Jaykob Acosta, to get a 10-2 win on Thursday, April 26.

“We have to keep on rolling every team because we got ourselves in a hole early,” Acosta said.

The Monarchs (18-7, 7-4) did not come out with much energy and quickly found themselves trailing 2-0. They hit rock bottom when Acosta was doubled up at first off a short fly out to right field which ended the inning. 

In an effort to fire up his team Exeter head coach Kevin Kirkman made a switch on the mound in the top of the fourth. Starter Brain Roach, who has been solid for the Monarchs in recent outings, was replaced by Acosta. Acosta sparked the Monarchs morale with his emotional leadership on the mound while also making an  immediate impact striking out the side.

“Tonight was just one of those nights when Roach did not have his best stuff so I went with one of our horses,” Kirkman said.

While Acosta kept CVC from scoring more runs it took the entire team to climb back into the game. In the bottom of the fourth inning Justin Turner led off with a double to center. It took a single by Caison Wallen to drive him in. After a walk the Monarchs tied up the game on another single. This time it was off the bat of Caleb Reynoso to give Wallen the run.

Exeter finally started batting with consistency, something Kirkman had been concerned with over the last few games, the winning run needed a little bit of luck. In between the two singles Preston Willey drew a walk. Coach Kirkman decided to pinch-run him with Jackson Brooks. Over the next couple batters he worked his way over to third. Then on a passed ball he sprinted the last 90 feet home and slid in head first for the game winning run.

Helping his team get the sweep over CVC, Preston Willey slides into home plate to add an insurance run late in the game in front of the home crowd at Lions Stadium. Photo by Patrick Dillon.

Helping his team get the sweep over CVC, Preston Willey slides into home plate to add an insurance run late in the game in front of the home crowd at Lions Stadium. Photo by Patrick Dillon.

Still, only leading by one run in the bottom of the sixth inning Exeter broke the game open by scoring seven to make it the final score. Acosta had the biggest hit when a double bounced off the left-center field wall.

On Saturday the Monarchs completed the sweep at home in a 5-0 win. Sal Briones went yard for his first career homerun. He added a triple as well.

Although Exeter combined for 15 runs in the last two games they were not always as plentiful in the series. Last Tuesday, in the first game of the series, Exeter won a 1-0 pitchers duel. 

Exeter only has four games left in the regular season, so any slip up could end their chances of winning the CSL for the first time in three years. A goal which is not going to be easy to accomplish as both the Kingsburg Vikings and Dinuba Emperors are only one game out in second place. Last night and Friday night are Exeter’s game against the Vikings. Final of Tuesday night’s game occurred after press time. Friday’s game is on the road beginning at 7 p.m. Kingsburg is one game out of the tie and in their first meeting Exeter won 11-3.

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