FARMINGTON — After missing out on the Connie Mack World Series last year, the Southern California Renegades have shown just how hungry they are this summer.
Behind a dominant pitching performance from San Diego City College's CJ Broussard, the Renegades (42-5-2) rolled to the 3-1 win over D-BAT Elite, of Dallas, on Tuesday at Ricketts Park.
Tuesday's prime time game combatants are no strangers. By picking up the victory, the Renegades avenged an early July defeat at the hands of D-BAT in the Gates World Series in Kearns, Utah.
Renegades coach Si Pettrow said that's part of the reason he put Broussard on the mound Tuesday — his experience in pressure-packed games.
"He's a (junior college) kid who's pitched in the big wars, and that's one reason why we saved him for this round and this game," Pettrow said. "He just gets after it, and he's a kid who rarely loses his composure."
In a pregame interview with Vertical Radio, Pettrow said the key to success against high quality teams in the tournament is pitching and limiting mistakes. And his team came through in both areas on Tuesday.
His offense also did its job.
Left fielder and University of San Diego commit Jay Schuyler struck first for Southern California. With Brady Shockey and Sheldon Borson on base, Schuyler blasted a ball off the center field wall for a two-RBI double in the bottom of the second inning.
The Renegades added to their lead the next inning when right fielder Michael Filia scored Travis Moniot on a sacrifice fly.
While D-BAT starter Wyatt Kelly escaped the third inning without any further damage, his coach Ryan Nelson said a couple of bad pitches cost him.
"In these types of games against these good of teams, it's all about executing a pitch in a big situation, and he just threw two or three bad pitches," Nelson said.
D-BAT (32-10), which was previously undefeated in world series play this week, managed only three hits in the game.
"So far in this tournament we've found a way to get the big two-out hit or big double when we needed it," Nelson said. "And we just didn't have it tonight. Things don't always go your way, that's the game."
Broussard was a big reason why D-BAT Elite hitters didn't have it on Tuesday.
But the Renegades' winning pitcher, who will transfer to California State University, Los Angeles, this year, ran into trouble in the top of the sixth, although it wasn't all his fault.
Broussard struck out D-BAT shortstop Cade Harris to open the sixth inning, but catcher Chris Ceballos couldn't hold on to the last pitch of the at-bat, allowing Harris to reach first on an error.
Harris scored later that inning on an RBI double off the bat of Darius Hill, but Broussard shook it off and shut down D-BAT for the rest of the game.
"He's just one amazing athlete; he was our only pickup of the year, even though we're allowed five," Pettrow said of Broussard. "We picked him to beat up the Danville Hoots in our region, which he did. Then he came through again for us tonight."
After the game, the coaches of the remaining Connie Mack teams gathered for a drawing to determine which teams will face off in the fifth round.
D-BAT drew Prairie Gravel (25-6-2) for a game at noon today. The Renegades will play Midland (42-3) at 7:30 p.m. The Louisiana Elite Yankees (24-7) will play the East Cobb Yankees (51-5) at 5:15 p.m.
Pettrow said he feels good about the arsenal of arms left in his dugout.
"We still got seven or eight guys who haven't even thrown the baseball yet that we consider to be extremely talented," he said. "We're only halfway there. That's what I just told the guys. This is just the start of it."
Southern California Renegades
Leading hitters: Jay Schuyler, 2 RBI, 3 2Bs, 1B,
Travis Moniot, 2 1Bs, SB
WP: CJ Broussard
Leading hitter: Darius Hill, RBI 2B,
LP: Wyatt Kelly