Phoenix rises to lift All Hallows over Xavier
Phoenix Deschamps is the fastest player in the CHSAA, according to All Hallows coach Ed Gutierrez. That’s why the left fielder was batting leadoff for the Gaels – until Friday when he was moved down to the seven-hole.
“I haven’t been hitting, so I understand why,” Deschamps said. “After that you kind of think about it and ask yourself why did he move me? Because I wasn’t bunting. As a leadoff man you’re supposed to get on base any way possible.”
Deschamps did just that with one out in the fifth inning of a scoreless game, laying down a bunt for the Gaels first hit. He came around and scored the lone run All Hallows would need in a 3-0 victory against Xavier Friday afternoon at MCU Park in Coney Island.
“What’s ironic is I’ve been trying to get him to do that from the leadoff spot all year,” Gutierrez said. “He’s the fastest guy in the league. I don’t know, he didn’t do what I asked of him for such a long period of time, but I put him in the seven-hole and all of a sudden he’s batting leadoff.”
That was the only run All Hallows (3-3) needed because Jason Reyes pitched a complete-game gem, striking out five with two walks in a three-hit shutout.
“I told Jason you need to put us on your back and you need to go right at Xavier and get us a win,” Gutierrez said. “He did exactly that. He said let’s go, give me the ball.”
Through four innings, though, Reyes was locked in a pitchers duel with J.P. Ramirez, who gave up three earned runs on five hits, striking out 11 with two walks.
“Awesome job, we found our No. 2 [pitcher] at least,” Xavier coach Rich Duffell said. “I’m battling trying to find pitchers and the positive is he did a fantastic job.”
What Duffell didn’t like, though, was the call at first base as Deschamps motored down the line after laying a bunt down the third base line.
“Everybody in this place knew he was out,” he said.
Duffell said that changed the whole complexion of the inning. Instead of no one on with two outs, the speedy Deschamps was at first with one out. He stole second, reached third on an errant pick-off throw by Ramirez and scored on a safety squeeze by Mark Candelario.
“With his legs he needs to cause havoc,” Gutierrez said. “Once he got on base, he’s a problem because of his speed.”
Stephen Alemais singled up the middle and stole second, scoring on Justin Soto’s two-run single to left.
It was the first game back for the Tulane-bound Alemais from a suspension for violating team rules, according to Gutierrez.
“He brings a lot of positive energy,” Deschamps said of the junior shortstop. “We’ve had a lot of errors defensively and the first ball of the game is to him. It’s kind of a coincidence.”
Xavier (3-3) threatened twice, putting runners on first and second with one out in both the fifth and sixth innings. But Reyes, who threw a fastball, a changeup and a late curve for strikes, got the final two outs in each inning and pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out the final two batters.
It’s those intense situations he thrives in.
“It keeps me motivated,” Reyes said. “I usually do better under pressure.”
The same can be said about All Hallows in its most complete victory of the season.
“I’d say this is the first overall game where everything was perfect,” Deschamps said. “Today it all came together.”
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