Fast start helps Maidu capture Section 4 ChampionshipBy: Cameron Salerno
Maidu throughout the postseason this summer has been unstoppable, posting a perfect record throughout District 54 pool and tournament play, as well as a perfect 3-0 mark to capture the Section 4 Championship with a 10-4 win Wednesday night against Rancho Cordova at Mann Park in Folsom.
“My team is a bunch of grinders,” Maidu manager Brian Bentley said. “Baseball is a grind, and playing 10 games is like playing half of a little league season again, and it just shows how much my team loves the game.”
Maidu got out to a hot start and never looked back. In the first inning, they racked in three big runs. The first came on a RBI single by Nate Sperduto, followed by Max Mullany’s two-run single to extend Maidu’s lead to 3-0 after one.
“It was very important,” Bentley said on scoring runs early. “We were the visiting team, so getting a few runs early was big as well as collecting some clutch hits.”
For Maidu, on the mound was Chase Bentley, who pitched 4 ⅔ innings, while only allowing one run. Maidu earned back the run they lost to Rancho on a stolen base to lead 4-1 after three.
“Our pitching wasn’t as good as it has been this tournament today,” Bentley said. “We did enough to get by and made some big defensive plays when it mattered. By doing that, we were able to avoid big innings by Rancho when we walked some batters.”
The fourth inning is when Maidu exploded for six runs, including RBI singles by Beau Oglas and Logan Crabtree. Additionally, Ben Kreizenbeck hit a key two-run single to start the rally for Maidu.
“In the fourth inning, we had a couple of very clutch hits,” Bentley said. “We took advantage of their mistakes to get some runs, and any time you are able to score big in the middle innings, it boosts your success.”
Maidu sent Brady Feam to the hill in relief of Bentley to shut down Rancho’s offense. Feam caught a Rancho baserunner in a pickle at home to get out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth.
Feam came into the fifth with his team leading 10-2 after Rancho scored a run in the previous inning and had a three-up, three-down inning.
Maidu then sent in Ben Kreizenbeck to close out the game. Despite a late rally by Rancho, it wasn’t enough and Kreizenbeck pitched well enough in the final inning to help his team capture the Section 4 Championship and advance to the Northern California Championship tournament.
Maidu will take on the winner of Section 1/ Section 2 game. After receiving a bye, that game is slated for Sunday in West Sacramento.
“We are going to rest up and take some BP before the next game,” Bentley said. “Fortunately enough, we have a bye, so we will scout out the teams on Saturday to help us get ready for Sunday’s game.”