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Tournaments : : Story
HP Maldonado shows out
Sam Brazenas        
Published: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

EMERSON, Ga. - Nothing has been able to stop HP Maldonado at the 17u/18u PG/EvoShield Classic this week at Perfect Game Park South at LakePoint.

HP Maldonado went undefeated in pool play, locking down their final win on Tuesday afternoon against Dolphins Baseball.

“The guys came out swinging and playing hard,” said head coach Esteban Maldonado about Tuesday’s game. “They did a great job I’m very pleased with what they did. We are missing a lot of players, but the guys who are here stepped up and did a good job. We’ve been hitting the ball all week long a today was no exception. The kids just went up there with a positive attitude and aggressive attitude and they put the ball in play and made things happen.”

Ethan Gillis had a solid five innings of work on the mound. He struck out six, walked none and allowed no earned runs.

“He was very solid,” explained Maldonado. “He’s been very consistent for us. He comes in and does the job, works hard, throws strikes, gets ahead in the counts, and I think he did good.”

“I felt like it was alright,” said Gillis about his performance in Tuesday’s game. “I felt like it could have been better. I left a few pitches up, wasn’t throwing as hard as I could have been, [and] missed some spots, but other than that we got the W and that’s all that matters.”

Gillis also had an impressive outing in HP Maldonado’s first game of the tournament. He pitched just three innings, but managed to strike out five batters while only walking one.

“I felt pretty good out there Friday,” explained Gillis. “I was able to get the gas swinging, and my off speed, and was able to get my fastball by them. All in all I felt pretty good out there.”

Offensively, HP Maldonado has been hard to stop. Over just five games they racked up 38 runs. Chase Allen was a clutch player at the plate in Tuesday’s game. He went 2-for-3 with a single and a double and two RBI. He also hit one of four home runs in Sunday’s game against Georgia BlackCrackers.

“It was actually two strikes and a high curveball and I just happened to get ahold of it,” said Allen about his home run.

Cornelius Randolph also hit a home run against the BlackCrackers, and Jake McFarland hit two. As a whole, Hp Maldonado racked up 15 hits this outing.

“That was one of those games that everybody was seeing the ball really big,” said Maldonado. “They feed off of each other and they were aggressive swinging that bat and things were happening. I would love to have that every game but it was a special game.”

Over the course of the tournament, HP Maldonado’s pitching has been immaculate and they have only given up two runs in their five games.

“We have a really good pitching staff,” said Maldonado. “I believe they’re one of the best pitching staff out there. They trust themselves and the defense helps them and they trust the defense, but they know what they need to do. They come over here and work hard for it and it shows”

“We’ve been playing good this past tournament and our pitching has been really well,” added Allen.

HP Maldonado has played in many Perfect Game events, with the PG/EvoShield Classic being their last one for the summer.

“The PG Events have been excellent. We get a lot of competition, a lot of exposure, and they have been well done and well organized,” said Maldonado. “This is our last tournament this summer, then we will take a couple of weeks off and get ready for the fall and will gear up to go to Jupiter.”

Both Gillis and Allen said they’ve enjoyed playing in Perfect Game tournaments and events this summer, and especially enjoy the new complex at LakePoint.

“It’s always been a great experience out there,” explained Gillis. “I love it. The fields are immaculate, it’s great facilities, it seems they use the best turf, the best everything out here, and even the scoreboards are awesome. It’s a great experience all around playing out here.”

“I’ve just been playing really good this summer,” added Allen. “I love the turf but when I get back on dirt it’s rough. But Perfect Game is probably the best experience I’ve had and scouting wise, it’s the best.”

Gillis attended the National Underclass Showcase this year and made it to the National Underclass Session 3 top prospect team. He also competed at the National Showcase at Jet Blue this summer.

“Perfect Game National is probably my favorite,” said Gillis. “I’m looking forward to getting the baseball cards and stuff. Out of all of them, Nationals was my favorite one, playing with the top players in the nation. It’s always been a great experience and it’s obviously the best in the nation as far as getting seen.”

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