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Modesto Babe Ruth fights back into regional title game

POSTED August 4, 2009 10:50 p.m.
It wasn’t easy.
The Modesto Babe Ruth 16-18-year-old baseball players suffered a 4-3 loss to Watsonville in the second round of the Pacific Southwest Regional at Watsonville High last week, only to use it as motivation. The players then surged back into the spotlight.
The defending tournament champions went on to win the next three elimination games, and they were playing for the regional championship late Tuesday night against San Gabriel. (Results weren’t available at press time.)
“We knew if we got to the championship game, we’d have a good chance of winning,” said Modesto coach Bobby Swedberg, also an assistant at Pitman High.
The squad boasts a half-dozen players from Turlock and Denair, and they made solid contributions throughout the double-elimination, eight-team tournament. They are looking to get back to the World Series title game for the second consecutive year.
Modesto found itself in a hole after losing to Watsonville on Saturday night, stranding 11 runners on base and blowing a chance to capitalize in the seventh inning when the bases were loaded with two outs. “We just couldn’t get the runs in to tie or win it,” Swedberg said.
In that game, former Turlock Christian High star Eli Davis went 1-for-2 with two runs scored, as teammate Colton Batty was 3-for-4 with one run scored. Vince Roberts threw a solid game, giving up nine hits and four runs and striking out nine batters.
Modesto bounced back on Sunday with an 8-3 win over Sacramento East, highlighted by Batty going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Ernie Delgadillo, a recent Denair High graduate, went 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored.
Kevin Grimes was effective on the mound.
Then came Monday. Modesto started with a 10-0 win over Nor Cal from Vallejo, with Ryan McConnell pitching five innings, giving up two hits and no walks and striking out three batters. Blake Barber went 1-for-2 with two runs scored, a triple and three RBIs. Hunter Adrian was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and former Pitman High star Ian Fregosi went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
And finally, the Modesto players had a second shot at Watsonville, which knocked them down to the losers’ bracket on Saturday. They won 7-0.
Davis was 4-for-4 with three runs, three doubles and an RBI. Batty went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Adrian went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. And Dylan Werner, a Denair graduate, threw seven complete shutout innings, and gave up three hits and three walks as he had seven strikeouts.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.
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