Eagles dethrone the Exeter Monarchs

Immanuel’s Lucas Pettitt runs the bases on the road against Exeter.(Kason Clark)

Reedley Immanuel baseball surges past Exeter for a 20-3 victory; Eagles fly past the Monarchs for first place in the Tri-County-Sequoia League with a week left in the regular season

EXETER – Immanuel baseball started off this past week with a 15-8 home loss to the Exeter Monarchs, putting the Eagles in second place in the Tri-County-Sequoia League with the regular season approaching its end. So on the road this past Thursday, the Immanuel Eagles looked to get revenge against the Monarchs in order to get back in the race for the league title.

And from the opening pitch, the Eagles dominated as they took advantage of the Monarchs’ mistakes. By the end of the first inning, the Eagles were flying high with an 8-0 lead and the Monarchs played catchup for the rest of the night. The Eagles continued to pile on the runs as they finished May 2 with the 20-3 win over their league rival.

“We wanted to come here and play our best baseball,” Immanuel head coach Steve Ramirez said. “Luckily our bats were alive, we got some timely hitting, phenomenal pitching by Nic Coleman; so when you have all those elements, you can get a win.”

The Eagles improved to 15-8 overall this year and 6-3 in league play to rise to the top of the Tri-County-Sequoia League. After falling behind in league after losing to Exeter earlier in the week, this win put the Eagles back in the driver’s seat for a league title.

“This was huge. I think as a team, it was needed,” Immanuel senior Eli Garay said. “I think coming into this game, we needed to build some momentum going into our games against Reedley, because winning the next three games is important for us.”

The Eagles took little time taking control against the Monarchs. After loading the bases with no outs, a walk drove in Zabe Gonzalez for a run to take the lead. An Exeter error then allowed SJ Ramirez to score for the Eagles. Lucas Pettitt followed that up with an RBI single to center field to drive in another run for a 3-0 lead.

The Eagles continued to fly high as Coleman scored on another Exeter error. Back-to-back singles from Owen Boys and Julian Ornelas then drove in another pair of runs to push the lead to 7-0. Ornelas capped off the inning by scoring on another Exeter error to make it an 8-0 game as the Eagles had all the momentum.

“As soon as Exeter’s mistakes happened, the timely hits happened,” Garay said about the strong start. “It brought some energy into the dugout and with our hitting, I think we really calmed down our hitting and just really trusted ourselves and our abilities.”

After falling behind, the Monarchs tried to respond in the bottom of the first. Jacob Molina got Exeter on the board with an RBI single and Aidan Robertson followed that up with an RBI single of his own to make it a 2-0 game. Then after loading the bases, Molina reached home for a run when the batter was hit by a pitch.

But the Monarchs could not wrangle away momentum as the Eagles continued to pile it on. In the third inning, RBI singles from Gonzalez and Garay pushed the lead to 10-3. Along with their offensive output, the Immanuel defense shut down the Exeter bats that had just put 15 runs on them earlier in the week.

“Today, we wanted to start strong and that was the game plan,” Steve Ramirez said. “Once we did that and we got the momentum going, we just wanted to keep it going and we did.”

In the fourth, the Eagles blew the game wide open. Pettitt scored on a fielder’s choice and then SJ Ramirez scored on another Exeter error to make it a 12-3 lead. Garay then tripled to center to drive in another pair of runs for the Eagles. Coleman capped off the inning with an RBI single to make it a 16-3 lead.

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Immanuel’s Nic Coleman pitches on the road against Exeter. (Kason Clark)

In the seventh, the Eagles continued to take advantage of errors, walks and hit batters to drive in another five runs to make the final score 20-3. With their loss, the Monarchs dropped to 19-7 overall and 6-4 in league. As they now head into the final week of the regular season, Exeter head coach Kevin Kirkman hopes that the Monarchs can return to their playing standard as they compete for a league title. 

“It was pretty bad baseball tonight, so hopefully next week, we come back and play like we have been most of the year,” Kirkman said.

After losing to Exeter earlier in the week, Steve Ramirez and the Eagles still just needed to win out to capture the Tri-County-Sequoia League title. Now that they have beaten Exeter to end this past week, the Eagles’ fate remains in their hands.

“We told them we control our own destiny if we win the next four games,” Ramirez said. “With a win today, we know if we get the final three wins against our crosstown rival Reedley, we can be the champs this year so one down, three to go.”

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