Baseball for breakfast … and lunch … was the perfect order Monday for the Los Mochis, Sinaloa, team in the Pony League World Series. Now, the Mexico Zone champion has a hunger for a championship.
Los Mochis won two games in the early session Monday, eliminating Washington 16-5, in the completion of a game suspended Sunday night, and then waiting about three hours before returning to the field and winning another elimination game, 8-1, over Paderborn, Germany.
The wins advance Los Mochis in the loser’s bracket. It will play another must-win game today at 12:30 p.m, and manager Luis Castro pointed out that his team is still well-stocked in the pitching department.
“We still have five pitchers we haven’t used,” he said through an interpreter.
Inbetween Los Mochis victories, Baymon, Puerto Rico, remained alive with a 9-2 win over Brownsville, Texas. It was a rematch of the opening game of the World Series Friday night, when Brownsville won, 13-6.
Los Mochis combined a six-run third inning with a complete-game three-hitter by Alonso Villarreal to beat Paderborn, which was knocked out of the double-elimination tournament.
If Los Mochis has five pitchers who are capable of matching Villarreal’s performance, then its opponents could be in serious trouble. Villarreal retired 12 of the last 14 batters he faced, struck out six and did not issue a walk.
“That was the game plan. He had to throw more strikes than balls and pitch ahead in the count,” Castro said. “I thought going into the game that defense would be the key.”
Los Mochis did play solid defense, even in the second inning when Paderborn took a 1-0 lead. Jeffrey Arndt led off the inning with an infield single before David Reichertz was robbed of a hit by Antonio Lopez, the Los Mochis second baseman. Lopez ranged far to his left to flag down a ground ball and throw out Reichertz on a close play.
Samuel Steigert followed with a single up the middle that scored Arndt with the game’s first run, but Villarreal got Maurice Bendrein to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
“Generally, everybody for us has been playing good defense,” Castro said.
Miguel Sanchez doubled and scored on Irving Ruiz’s single to make it 1-1 after two innings.
Los Mochis then took control of the game with its six-run third inning against Paderborn pitcher Niklas Rimmel. With one out, Javier Lopez stole second base on what was a bang-bang play. The umpire’s call of safe went against Paderborn and everything went downhill from there for the European Zone champion.
Gerardo Quinonez and Miguel Sanchez hit run-scoring singles to give Los Mochis a 3-1 lead. Arndt, the Paderborn shortstop, committed two errors in the inning and Guillermo Guerrero hit a two-run double.
“A very disappointing performance,” Paderborn manager Georg Bull said. “We definitely could do better. It came down to one inning. We had two errors and we thought the umpire missed call at second base on the steal. … These are young guys and they couldn’t shake off that call. That part is a learning experience.”
Lopez, Los Mochis’ leadoff hitter, capped the scoring with a solo home run in the fourth. It was his third homer of the World Series.
After Steigert’s RBI-single in the second inning, Paderborn didn’t have another hit until Steigert singled again, with two outs in the seventh.
“Every ball we hit went in their gloves,” Bull said. “When we beat Washington Saturday, everything we hit found a hole. When you’re playing a one-game season, you have to bring your ‘A’ game, which we didn’t. Congratulations to Mexico, a deserving winner. They came a long way and wanted it more than we did, I guess.”
Kristopher Gonzalez hit two home runs and drove in four runs to power Bayamon over Brownsville. Bayamon advances to play another elimination game at 10 a.m. today.
Gonzalez homered to lead off the second inning and added a three-run shot to right field to give Bayamon the lead for good at 4-2 in the third.
Adiel Perez and Mario Feliciano also hit solo homers for Bayamon, and Jose Mendez, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, was 3-for-3 with three RBI.
Bayamon’s Kidany Salva threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings of relief to get the win.
“We don’t like to pitch Salva very much, only in big games, because he’s our regular shortstop,” Bayamon manager Carlos Mendez said.
Brownsville took a 2-0 lead in the third on run-scoring singles by Ivan Castillo and Marky Ordonez. But the South Zone champion stranded nine baserunners over the final five innings and hit into two double plays.
“Our bats didn’t show up today,” Brownsville coach Fernando Torres said. “We got ’em on, we just couldn’t squeeze ’em in.”
Los Mochis, 16-5
Los Mochis began the day by finishing a 16-5 victory over host Washington in an elimination contest. The game had been suspended because of lightning and rain late Sunday night.
The teams returned to Lew Hays Pony Field in Washington Park and resumed play at 10 a.m., with Los Mochis leading 11-2 in the sixth inning. Los Mochis scored five runs, including homers by Lopez and Villareal, in the top of the seventh, and Washington closed the scoring on a three-run homer by Garret Briant in the bottom of the seventh.
Briant hit two home runs and drove in four runs in the game. He went 3-for-7 in the series – each hit being a home run – and won the John D. Voytek Memorial Award, which is given to the Washington player with the highest batting average. Briant won on the tiebreaker of most total bases.