Acosta, Monarchs fall to CVC
By Patrick Dillon
visalia – Sophomore Jaykob Acosta got the start on April 12 for the Exeter Monarchs (12-7; 3-4) in the small school championship game of the 33rd annual Pro-PT Tulare/Visalia Invitational, going against a familiar foe in the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers (17-3; 6-1), who are in first in the Central Sequoia League.
“This was my first start, so I was a little nervous at first. But coaches told me to relax and that was what I tried to do,” he said.
Acosta pitched well for the Monarchs during his 4 innings. And he was not shaken by the fact that his first start was in biggest venue he had ever played in, Recreation Park. But unfortunately CVC took the title from Exeter by a score of 8-3 after some untimely errors by the Monarch’s defense.
“I thought he threw really well for a sophomore,” said Exeter head coach Kevin Kirkman. “He’s going to be something to watch the next couple seasons.”
The bottom of the first inning could not have played out any better than if Acosta drew it up himself. Getting every Cavalier batter to ground out made for easy work for the young pitcher, keeping the Monarchs in the lead 1-0 after Brenden Ayers drove in Alex Lagrutta in the top of the first inning.
But that would be as good as things got for Acosta and the Monarchs. Held off the scoreboard for the next three innings, the Cavaliers began to build their lead. Tying up the game 1-1 in the second, they added another run in the third and the fourth, to take a 3-1 lead.
Ayers drove in Lagrutta again in the top of the fifth and when Acosta took home on a wild pitch they drew even once again at 3-3. But by the bottom half of the fifth CVC scored four runs and effectively put the game away.
While Acosta was on the mound he allowed 9 hits and seven runs to come across, only two of which were earned, while getting one strikeout. But at the plate Acosta made the Cavalier pitchers uneasy going two-for-four in the game and scoring a run.
However, the Monarchs were on the verge of missing the title game entirely. Exeter trailed 7-2 in their first game of the day against the Mission Oak Hawks (9-9; 2-5) going into the bottom the third. That was when a line drive by Acosta caught the Hawks second baseman off guard, which allowed Lagrutta to score. Then two batters later Ayers doubled to center which drove home Acosta to cut it to 7-4. From there the comeback was on for the Monarchs. Exeter added two more in the bottom of the third to only trail by one run, 7-6.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the fifth inning when Seth Guinn, who had given up seven runs to the Hawks in the bottom of the first inning, redeemed himself by sending a blazing single up the middle of the infield. That allowed Lagrutta and Ayers to score giving the Monarchs the lead 8-7 on their way to a 15-8 win.
“They came out and tore the cover off the ball,” said Coach Kirkman.
Now the Monarchs will take some time off, and according to Kirkman the team will concentrate on their fielding.
A road trip up to Reedley to face the Immanuel Eagles on April 19 is the next matchup for the Monarchs as both teams share fourth place in the CSL.