ELK GROVE — The El Dorado Hills Crushers 14U baseball team notched another championship after winning the All World Baseball Edge of Darkness Tournament in Elk Grove.
The combination of good pitching, strong defense and abundant hitting up and down the lineup allowed the Crushers to go a perfect 4-0 against tough opponents, including local rivals Hard 90 of El Dorado Hills.
In its first game, El Dorado Hills defeated the local Elk Grove team, Molina Marauders, 10-5. Ivan Brustad went 3-for-3, scored twice and Joe Durket was 3-for-4 with four RBIs. He and Ian Baleme combined for the win on the mound.
Next, the Crushers sneaked past the Antelope Avalanche 5-4 with pitching help from Will Goodin and Noah Skelly. Trevor Barbosa scored the winning run in the top of the last frame. The game ended when Mason Ghidossi applied the tag on a pick off of the tying run at third base.
As the No. 1 seed going into bracket play, the Crushers again locked horns with the Antelope Avalanche. This time, the Crusher bats exploded for nine runs with every Crusher contributing. Devin Kramer scored twice and had three RBI’s. Good pitching by Will Goodin was supported by near perfect defense, led by shortstop Sean Coulombe with six putouts.
In the championship game, the Crushers continued hitting where they left off. Against Hard 90’s Premier Team, the Crushers rolled to a 12-5 victory and their second championship. Hits, sacrifices and strong fundamental offense allowed them to score six unanswered runs in the first two innings.
Those runs were all pitchers Durket and Ian Baleme needed as they kept opposing hitters off-balance the entire game. A pivotal double by Tim Rhyan with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning cleared the bases. In the bottom half, Goodin caught a deep fly ball to right field and then threw it to Mitch Alhady, who delivered a laser throw to the plate for a double play to end the inning.
“It was a fun weekend, and we played very sound fundamental baseball. A good combination of small ball and long ball helped us move runners around in each of our games,” coach Matt Durket said. “I am very proud of these players because they are committed to getting better each time they take the field, whether for a game or practice.”
The Crushers are also coached by Casey Rhyan. They train at California Baseball Academy under the watchful eye of Sonny Merlo and his coaches.