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By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
PETALUMA — Maria Carrillo coach Derek DeBenedetti couldn’t have scripted the Adam Westcott Tournament any better and not just because his Pumas won the championship on Saturday.
“The goal coming in was to get battle-tested and each of the three games we played was a battle,” DeBenedetti said. “I believe we’ve come together as a team and we’re ready for league play to start next week.”
[PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to see more photos from Saturday’s game]
Carrillo finished a tournament sweep by defeating Cardinal Newman 6-2 in the championship. In the first two rounds, the Pumas beat Sonoma Valley and Eureka.
In the title game, the Pumas took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the first and pitchers Jo Bynum and Jared Brazis made the lead stand up.
Reliever Brazis got the biggest out of the game when he came on in the top of the fourth with his team leading, 4-2.
Newman had loaded the bases with one out and on the second pitch he threw to Alex Roeser, the Cardinals’ center fielder hit a line drive to Austin Martinez. The shortstop caught the ball and doubled the runner off second base.
“It was a fastball outside,” Brazis said. “It was hit hard, but I have confidence in our defense.”
The Cardinals mounted another threat in the fifth when Kyle Scott and Alex Ward hit back-to-back singles with one out. Brazis was up to the challenge once again as he struck out both Lofton Dayton and Rourke Theiller.
The junior finished strong facing the minimum six batters in the last two innings.
“That’s the most I’ve pitched this year,” Brazis said. “We got a couple of insurance runs and I just concentrated on throwing strikes.”
DeBenedetti had praise for both his pitchers.
“I can’t say enough about Brazis,” the coach said. “He doesn’t back down.
“This was the first time this season Bynum has pitched. He gave us three strong innings and left with the lead I couldn’t ask for much more.”
The Pumas banged out eight hits, three of those in the first.
Austin Martinez and Keith Wallach both singled and scored on Andrew Vaughn’s triple to right field. Peter Hoge’s sacrifice fly to left scored Vaughn with the final run of the inning.
Wallach was perfect at the plate with two singles and a walk.
“Both my hits were on fastballs,” the catcher said. “I’m glad I could do my share. It’s a thrill to win this tournament.”
The Pumas defense was excellent as they took away several hits with nifty fielding. Shortstop Martinez, second baseman Vaughn and first baseman Scott all made outstanding plays.
Carrillo comes out of the 17th annual Westcott with a 6-2 record and will be back on the Casa field Wednesday when North Bay League play begins.
Newman is a better team than its 3-6 record. The Cardinals won two of three games during the tourney and defeated the host Gauchos 11-0 on Friday. They open league play Wednesday at Ukiah.
Championship box score
Cardinal Newman 200 000 0 — 252
Maria Carrillo 301 101 x — 681
WP—Jo Bynum; LP—Kyle Scott
CN: Mike Clark 1×3, Alex Roeser 1×4.
MC: Keith Wallach 2×2; Andrew Vaughn 1×3, 3B, 2 RBI; Peter Hoge 1×2, RBI.