Benson's triple leads Newsome past Alonso in quarters


Newsome senior Zach Benson tripled in the deciding run to propel Newsome to a Saladino Quarterfinal win over Alonso.
By Will Turner

In a battle of Class 9A-District 8 foes, the Newsome Wolves and Alonso Ravens met in the third quarterfinal of the 39th Annual Saladino Tournament, a rematch of a game played two weeks ago, where the Ravens took a 3-0 decision. Though not officially a district game, Newsome evened the season series with a 5-4 victory on Thursday afternoon.

Newsome put a pair on the board in the first, jumping on Alonso freshman pitcher Sawyer Cole. Tyler McKenna hit the first pitch he saw into right field for an RBI single, which was quickly followed up on an RBI groundout from Sawyer Smith. The Wolves tacked onto their lead with an RBI single from Zach Benson in the second.

The middle of Alonso’s lineup went to work and got a run back in the second when Ty Bitman singled to right. Zack DeVito got out of that jam, stranding two runners in scoring position with a pair of strikeouts.

Alonso continued to fight back in the third with a leadoff home run to right field from Renzo Gonzalez – his first of 2019, taking out a couple tree limbs in the process.

Alonso sophomore Renzo Gonzalez clobbered a home run into the trees in right-center. 
Newsome just couldn’t be caught in the early innings as the ball flew around Don Powell Field. The Wolves answered Alonso’s jack with three straight leadoff singles, the third an RBI single from Lucas Phelps to extend their lead back to two.

Gonzalez had his second and third RBIs on the afternoon as the elusive tying run came in the fourth on a two-run single to greet Eric Green, who came in with the bases loaded. Green struck out a pair to limit the damage.

Newsome junior Eric Green picked up the win on the mound. 
With the game tied at four, Newsome looked to come through to not fall to the Ravens in the Saladino quarterfinals as they did in 2017.

Cade Afeld singled in the sixth and made an error hurt
charging around to third base and eventually scoring
the deciding run. 
Cade Afeld got things started with a one-out single, which turned into a three-base-hit after a bobbled pickup in center. Benson swapped places with Afeld two pitches later, driving a triple to the right center wall to send Newsome to its first Saladino Tournament semifinal since 2012.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Benson said. “We lost to them two years ago and it was almost the same situation and to come back and end up on top, it feels really good. It’s just really exciting.”

Reese Bradley came in and collected the final three outs, picking up his first save of the season. Green picked up the win in the decision. Aside from the four charged runs, DeVito pitched efficiently, as the Tulane commit racked up eight strikeouts in ten outs.

McKenna added two hits and a run scored on the day, while Afeld had a pair of hits and a pair of runs scored in the victory out of the leadoff spot.

“I had had an ugly at-bat [struck out in third] before, so I was just trying to simplify my swing and not do too much up there,” Afeld said.

Gonzalez had the big day for Alonso with a 3-for-4 day with three RBI. Bitman had the other multi-hit game for the Ravens in the loss. Jason Englert pitched a solid 3 1/3 innings in relief, allowing just two hits, but was struck with the loss on an unearned run. He struck out three on the afternoon.

Newsome advances to the Saladino semifinals for the first time since claiming the tourney title in 2011.

Will Turner is a student at the University of South Florida pursuing a double major in mass communications and history. He is the owner of WTurnerProductions.com, a high school sports website covering the entire Tampa Bay Area. Follow Will on Twitter at @TBTurner813 and @WTProTampa. 


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