Clemente powers past Simeon
Updated: May 30, 2011 8:13PM
One glance told Felix DeJesus what he had to do Monday afternoon.
“I looked down the third-base line, my coach (Chris Hall) was there and gave me the look,” DeJesus said of his third-inning at-bat. “I’ve got to man up. I’m the [No.] 3 hitter.”
DeJesus did his job, muscling a two-run homer over the left-field fence and sparking host Clemente to a 7-2 win over Simeon in a Class 4A regional final.
The regional title was the first since 2006 for the Wildcats (23-6), who play host Mount Carmel Thursday in a sectional semifinal.
Juan Figueroa added a solo homer for Clemente, which took advantage of a stiff breeze blowing out to left field and managed to keep Simeon (26-5) from doing the same.
Right-hander Chris Simon (7-2) worked around seven walks and limited the Wolverines to three hits and one earned run in six innings while striking out seven.
“When Chris is on the mound, I always have a positive attitude,” DeJesus said. “I told him before the game ... as seniors, we have to win this game for our team.”
“My teammates helped a lot,” Simon said. “They made plays behind me. I kept saying, I’ve got to throw strikes, get ahead early. The pressure was on [Simeon].”
Clemente broke open a scoreless game in the top of the third when Yerbis Arias doubled to left, scoring Jeremiah Figueroa, and DeJesus followed with his homer for a 3-0 Wildcats lead.
That wound up being enough offense, but the Wildcats kept adding to their lead with single runs in each of the last four innings as Simeon got no closer than 4-1 and 5-2. Juan Figueroa hit a solo homer to left-center in the fifth. Arias, who singled home the final run in the seventh, and DeJesus both went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Simon took care of the rest. “He had a bad outing last time out, [but] today he was on point,” Hall said. “He had a few too many walks, but his breaking ball was pretty good and he moved the ball around well.”
“We weren’t swinging at strikes,” said Simeon assistant coach Robert Fletcher, who ran the team with head coach Leroy Franklin out of town on personal business. “We were swinging at pitches out of the [strike] zone.”
The Wolverines also had fielding issues. Though they were charged with just one error, they had two dropped throws on Clemente stolen base attempts and another on a throw to the plate on a fielder’s choice grounder. “We didn’t make our plays,” Fletcher said.
Simeon starter Shane Brown (9-2) took the loss, allowing six hits and five runs (all earned) while walking six and striking out six in five innings.
“We’ll be back,” said Fletcher, whose lineup included five sophomores and one freshman. No one had more than one of Simeon’s five hits.