After advancing through pool play, the Briarwood 12U All Stars opened up the District-44 double-elimination tournament Tuesday afternoon with a resounding win over Campbell, 15-2. Leading the way for Briarwood were the table setters at the top of the lineup. Leadoff hitter Ryan Cabildo went 3-for-5 at the plate with three doubles, while second-place hitter, the famous Preston Jetson, reached base on all five trips to the plate, going 3-for-3 with three singles and a pair of walks.
“They set the tone for us in these games. The impact they can have when they get their first at bats can make the other team go ‘wow, this team is actually really good,’” said Briarwood Head Coach Bryan Adame on his tone setters.
Jetson and Cabildo also stood out defensively with the former making a handful of nice plays at third base and the latter shutting the door on Campbell the final two innings on the mound. One of Jetson’s nice plays at third base was aided by first baseman and cleanup hitter Eliah Laureles who made a nice scoop to end the inning and save a run.
“He is just a sound baseball player,” added Adame on Laureles, who also opened the scoring for Briarwood with a two-run double in the top of the first. “Batting and fielding he’s very sound. He’s one of the jokesters on the team, but when it gets down to game time, he’s locked in and has great baseball skills. He’s a leader, he absorbs baseball and understands it really well.”
Another high baseball IQ player that starred for Briarwood in this game was Sammy Martinez. After a substitution snafu forced starting pitcher Kai Imahara off the mound after just one inning, Martinez came in and slammed the door on the Campbell hitters for the next three innings. He allowed just two unearned runs in his time on the mound. On the offensive side of things, Martinez went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an intentional walk.
“I think Sammy did really well,” said Cabildo on his fellow pitching teammate. “They only got a couple runs off errors in the outfield.”
“Sammy coming in was great, he does it all for us, catcher, pitcher, shortstop,” remarked Adame on Martinez. “He dominated the game, I gave him one of the game balls. He’s been playing so well lately.”
While Martinez received plenty of run support, perhaps the single most entertaining run of the game was scored by Imahara in the third inning. With two outs, Imahara was on third and caught the Campbell catcher sleeping. On a soft toss back to the pitcher, Imahara, who often catches himself, took off for home plate and slid just under the tag, for a successful steal of home.
“I tell Kai, ‘you’re fast enough, if you feel you can make it, make it,’” said Adame. “He went on his own and I have to tip my cap, he took advantage of the situation. Really proud of that kid.”
Briarwood now moves onto the winner’s bracket and will look to continue their charge towards a District 44 Championship.