BASEBALL: Monarchs make fifth inning comeback, win championship

The Exeter Monarchs scored six runs in one inning to overtake the Woodlake Tigers and win the championship game of the Ron Robinson Tournament

WOODLAKE – After allowing the Woodlake Tigers to score six runs in four innings, the Exeter Monarchs answered with six in one inning to win the tournament championship 11-6.

The Monarchs overtook the Tigers in the fifth inning for a comeback victory in the championship game of the Ron Robinson Tournament on April 5. After a single run in the first inning, the Monarchs didn’t score again until the fifth. In that time, the Tigers scored six runs, but the Monarchs didn’t give up. After the Tigers changed pitchers, they slowed down at bat and played smarter baseball, which paid off with six runs in a single inning. They were awarded the championship plaque after the game and Aidan Robertson was named the most valuable player of the tournament.

“At some point our guys finally became patient and got on base and made some key hits,” Exeter head coach Kevin Kirkman said. “Hats off to Woodlake. They battled.”

The Monarchs only needed a single run to tie the game at six with sophomore Jacob Molina on third base. Bases loaded, he stole home to tie the game. On the next at bat, senior Miller Weldon got a base hit to send Robertson home for the game winning point.

“We were up by five runs but we ran into some trouble pitching wise and that’s kind of where the wheels came off,” Woodlake head coach Juan Gamez said.

In the next inning, the Monarchs collected three more runs for a total of 11. Every player in the lineup scored a run except for pitcher Carson Hughes, who didn’t score a run, but pitched a great game for the Monarchs. After the fifth inning, the Monarchs only had a single run for insurance against the Tigers. Hughes took the pressure of keeping the Tigers from scoring again. He was confident enough in his infield to throw strikes.

He struck out one batter in the sixth and the other got out on a fly out and at first base. In the seventh, only three batters came up to the plate. All three got hits, but all three were out either at first base or on a fly out to center field. The Monarchs committed minimal errors on defense to keep their lead in the final three innings.

It was a stark contrast to the beginning of the game, when it seemed as if Exeter couldn’t get a run on offense and couldn’t get the necessary outs on defense. The Tigers were high on a six-game winning streak they’ve had since beating Granite Hills on March 24, while the Monarchs had lost five games in a row heading into the tournament this week. After winning the first three games of the tournament, the Monarchs had gotten their confidence back.

Robertson in particular stood out during the tournament and was named player of the tournament. He had seven hits with 14 at bats and stole 10 bases throughout the tournament. Robertson has been a key player for the Monarchs this season. When he steps up to the plate, he poses a challenge for any opposing pitcher.

“He was getting on [base] all the time,” Kirkman said. “And he’s fast, he’s aggressive, he’s great.”

The Monarchs have a tough league opponent coming up on April 12. They’ll face Washington Union at home, then again on April 14 in Fresno. Washington Union has a sophomore pitcher, Trey Morris, who has already committed to the University of Texas. The Monarchs will need to play smart baseball when they face him next week.

The Tigers haven’t started league play yet and will have a final non-league game against Orosi on April 11 before beginning league play on April 13.

Start typing and press Enter to search