MAC Elite’s undefeated record in pool play gave head coach Michael McDermott’s squad a rightly-earned bye in the opening round of the 2019/2020 bracket. Meanwhile, Thompson Valley had to fend off Advanced Baseball Academy to secure its spot in the quarterfinals.
Despite striking first in the opening half-inning, Thompson Valley could not stop MAC Elite at the plate as Elite cruised into the semifinals with a 13-3 victory.
“We’ve been swinging hot bats all weekend,” said McDermott. “I can’t point to one single guy this week. We are 13 players deep on this team. Everyone has been contributing in one way or another.”
With Thompson Valley already in front, Elite came together for a loud response in the bottom end of the first. Twelve batters in total came to the plate as MAC Elite pushed across seven runs on six hits, including doubles from Ethan Collins, Roy Jennings and Derek Romero.
“We weren’t really concerned with them taking the lead,” explained Logan Garcia. “It was only the top of the first and we’ve been rolling lately. Once we had our turn to bat, we knew we would keep doing our thing.”
Lead in hand, Roy Jennings went to work on the Bump, breezing through the second frame in 1-2-3 fashion. Jennings would allow just three runs on just two hits.
MAC Elite failed to score in the bottom half of the second inning with the bases loaded. The only blemish on an otherwise spotless scorecard.
“Coming into this week, I wanted each guy to perform to his ability level,” McDermott said. “It just so happens that all 13 guys are doing that at once. They are meeting every single expectation I had coming into this week.”
The Elite offense went back to work in the bottom of the third. With two on and just one out, Logan Garcia pocketed a two-RBI with a double, and would also come around to score to put MAC seven clear of Thompson Valley, 10-3.
“I wasn’t seeing any one thing in particular at the plate,” said Garcia. “If it’s a strike, I’m going to swing the bat.”
Elite added two runs in the fourth and needed just a single run in the fifth to close out its stellar quarterfinal performance. Fittingly, Jennings book-ended the ballgame with the first pitch of the contest and the final swing, tallying his third RBI and solidifying MAC Elite’s victory, 13-3.
McDermott and company will have Monday afternoon off before playing its semifinal at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.
“I honestly wish we were playing again sooner,” McDermott said. “However, at the end of the day, they’ve been able to joke around and have fun.”
“When they’re relaxed, loose and having fun, that’s when we’re playing our best baseball. If they are up in the dugout focused and making noise tomorrow morning, I know we’ll be ready to go.”
The afternoon does give MAC Elite a chance to relax and take in what’s been an incredible weekend for the Rio Rancho natives.
“I’ve been to many showcases with these guys and I can tell you this has been second to none,” said McDermott. “The amount of contacts and the amount of coaches that are here is truly impressive.”
“I can tell you with certainty, as long as this tournament is held, MAC Elite will be here.”