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Pine Crest Races To Game Of The Week Victory Over Somerset

Konrad Ehmke congratulates Ben Petri after he scored in the third inning for Pine Crest.

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Things are clicking for Pine Crest right now. The club won its second straight district game on Thursday with an 8-4 home victory over Somerset Academy in the HSBN Broward Game of the Week at Roschman Field, and the team did it by playing quality baseball in all phases.

“I feel pretty good. We’re putting the ball in play and we’re pressing people. They’re young and they’re getting after it. It’s exciting and it’s fun to watch,” Pine Crest manager Mike Green said.

With the spotlight on, Pine Crest delivered a quality outing. The defense had just one inconsequential error, every starter reached base on offense and senior Jake Solomon delivered a gem on the mound to lead the pitching staff. Solomon carried his team into the sixth inning, allowing one earned run on three hits and two walks, and he struck out seven.

“I threw two days ago and my body didn’t feel 100%, but if you are mentally focused like I thought I was today you know you can beat anyone,” Solomon said. “I stayed around the zone so I was really happy with the results. There is not a better feeling in the world than to know when you are locked in and on the game. I think my teammates played a great game of defense today, they were really good on the base paths and really good hitting today. The energy on our team is incredible, so it makes my job a lot easier to go out there and throw strikes because I trust these guys. We’re hitting a good stride, but it is two district games and we have seven more. So we’ve got to grind and we’re off to a good start.”

Pine Crest (4-4) improved to 2-1 in 5A-14 to inch closer to the top of the district standings.

“Our district is so tough. Top to bottom there’s no easy game at any point in time,” Green said. “We’re young and sometimes I think they don’t even know better, but sometimes it can be a blessing. I’m real pleased with the effort. There are some execution things we need to do a little better but they’re playing good baseball and they’re having fun.”

Across the field, Somerset Academy has had its share of struggles to begin the year. The team fell to 2-7 and has been experiencing some inconsistencies. Fortunately, both wins came in the district to stay right in the hunt.

Max Baldaccini was 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk and two RBIs for Somerset Academy.

“We’ve just got to figure it out in some of these games that we seem to lose control of,” Somerset manager Onel Garcia said. “Right now we’re struggling with our pitching and we’ve only got one guy who is giving us quality innings. We’ve just got to find somebody else until we get Juan J Teixeira back from injury. We’re fielding a little better the last few games. Our hitting has struggled but we’re getting better at bats here and there, but they are just not as consistent as I would like them to be.”

Meanwhile, Pine Crest was very consistent, particularly at the plate. Two runs in the first gave the team the lead and it held on the rest of the way. Mitch Gray walked but was then erased on a fielder’s choice from Sam Krassan, Caleb Cyr followed with a single to center and Chris Russo walked to load the bases. Ben Petri then delivered a shot deep to right field for a two-RBI double.

Petri also helped get things going as Pine Crest scored the deciding runs in the fourth, drawing a lead-off walk and scoring after a throwing error off a sacrifice bunt from Antonio Correa. Konrad Ehmke was next with an RBI single that nearly plated two, before Somerset erased the trailing runner. Gray came through with an RBI single to make it a 5-1 Pine Crest lead.

The victors added three more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Correa and Sam Brody both walked and Jared De Faria came through with a single past the shortstop that drove in both runners. Gray came through again with a double to left that allowed De Faria to come home.

Somerset shortstop Ryan DeLeon chases down a flare that ended the third and stranded two runners.

Somerset went down swinging to the very end. After falling behind in the second, Max Baldaccini cut the deficit in half with a solo home run to left field in the top of the fourth. After stranding runners in the next two frames, Somerset had one last rally in them in scoring three runs in the seventh. Michael Laguardia connected for his second hit of the day, Joel Perez walked and Ryan DeLeon lined an RBI double to left. Baldaccini then supplied another RBI single, before Pine Crest reliever Shane Williams induced an infield grounder to end the game.

“One thing about them is they are not giving up,” Garcia said. “We’re lifting in the mornings and their mood is actually positive, because it is easy to start pointing fingers. But we’re not doing that and we’re having Spirit Rallies and there are some fun things we’re doing. Hopefully we learn from some of these mistakes we’re making, because we’re making an awful lot of them.”

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