G&J wins City title on first try
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera National Little League champion G&J Trucking Sales celebrates a 7-3 defeat of Madera American Little League champion Lee’s Concrete to win the Madera City Championship on Saturday.
Buoyed by a four-run fourth inning, G&J Trucking Sales held off Lee’s Concrete for a 7-3 victory to win the Madera Little League City Championship.
In his first try, Madera National Little League champion G&J Trucking Sales manager Seth McKeever’s squad answered Lee’s Concrete twice and got a big hit from Blake Burton and an even bigger hit from Joel Arellano for the win over nine-time Madera American Little League championship manager Guni Grewal’s team Saturday.
“I love it,” McKeever said. “It’s a great feeling. The boys worked hard all season. I couldn’t ask for anything better for them.”
Lee’s Concrete scored a run in the first, but G&J Trucking answered back. Lee’s then scored two runs in the third, but G&J came back to tie the game, again.
G&J took advantage of new pitcher Jovan Hans to score four runs in the bottom of the fourth to put the game away.
“That’s baseball,” Grewal said. “The kid (starting pitcher Harnook Hans) was starting to get tired. He got mentally tired, too because he got hit a little. Those balls should have been caught. We have a real young team. We have a lot of nine and 10-year olds. They didn’t make the plays. We have four or five errors and that’s not going to win games. I’m proud of the kids. We had to pick up seven kids at the beginning of the year. We didn’t even think we were going to be a .500 ball club. Here, we’re at the City Championship and I’m proud of them. They work hard. I had four kids play T-Ball and have no experience even playing in the minors. To be able to make it up to All-Stars, I take my hat off to them and they learned. We’ll be back next year and the year after that. “
G&J Trucking overcame four errors to capture the title. Starting pitcher Arellano recorded a complete game. He didn’t allow an earned run and struck out seven.
“In the first inning, we had some jitters.” McKeever said. “The kids have been working hard. I told them if you give me effort for this game, that’s all I can ask for. Yes, they made some errors, but they came up and made some plays after it. I always tell them it’s not the mistake that matters, but what you do after it. They had other ways to make it up.”
“It feels to get the win and throw well to win a City Championship game,” Arellano said. “
G&J Trucking’s middle of the order did most of the damage. Brenton Bohm, Joel Arellano and Blake Burton accounted for four of the five hits, three runs and all seven RBIs. Burton hit a two-run double and Arellano hit a two-run home run.
“Arellano’s hit put the game out of reach,” McKeever said. “It gave us momentum and energy. The boys were ready to play and the switch went on.”
Jeremiah Montes led off the ball game for Lees’s Concrete with a triple to right-centerfield. After two strikeouts, Jovan Hans reached on an error, which allowed Montes to score the first run of the game.
Josh McKeever helped G&J Trucking to tie the game in the bottom of the inning. He led off by reaching second on an error. Bohm singled and went to second on an error. Arellano grounded out, but it was deep enough for McKeever to score the tying run .
Lee’s added two more runs in the third with a two out, nobody on rally. Jose Velasco singled up the middle. Harnook Hans singled to put runners at first and second. Jovan Hans reached on an error while Valasco scored. Alex Cortez also reached on an error and Harnook Hans scored for a 3-1 lead.
However, G&J came back in the third. McKeever led off the inning with a walk. He went to second on a passed ball and to third when Bohm grounded out.
Arellano was intentionally walked to put runners at the corner. Two pitches later, Burton lined a ball to right field that hit the ground before a diving rightfielder.
McKeever scored easily and Arellano scored all the way from first base to tie the game at three.
G&J used their own two out, nobody on rally to take control of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. McKeever started the rally with a double to right-centerfield. He went to third on a wild pitch.
Ethan Tate reached on a dropped third strike and stole second. Bohm lined a single to right field to score McKeever and Tate for a 5-3 lead.
Two pitches later, Arellano deposited a ball over the centerfield fence for a two-run home run and a four-run lead.
“I was a kind of mad after they walked me,” Arellano said. “I came back in my next at bat and made them pay. I knew he was going to throw a slower pitch so I waited back for it and hit it oppo.”
Arellano ran into a little trouble in the fifth. Velasco reached on an error and wento to third on a Jovan Hans single with two outs, but Arellano got a grounder to third to end the inning.
In the sixth, Arellano got a liner to Burton at first, got a grounder back to the box and a flyout to Tate in center to end the game and give G&J Trucking Sales its first City Championship.