As Bayamon, Puerto Rico, filed out of its dugout Tuesday night at Lew Hays Pony Field in Washington Park, its coaches and players exchanged a series of encouraging words and fist bumps with members of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, which was playing Chesterfield County, Va., in the nightcap of the Pony League World Series.
Whatever was shared – nearly all of it was in Spanish – presumably worked, as the Mexican Zone champion overwhelmed Chesterfield County with 16 hits en route to a 14-4 victory and forced an “if necessary” game at noon today.
The winner will advance to the 7 p.m. championship opposite either Okinawa, Japan, or Puerto Rico, who meet at 10 a.m.
“It feels so good,” said Mexico catcher Divier Lara, whose two-run homer to left center in the bottom of the fifth inning triggered the mercy rule. “I don’t have words to say.”
If Los Mochis does reach the tournament final, it certainly will not have taken the most direct route.
After an opening-round loss to this same Virginia team, a game where Chesterfield scored twice on a sacrifice fly to take the lead in the final inning, Los Mochis won four games over two days, one of them a rain-delayed victory over Washington Monday.
“The first game was after three days on a bus. We were so tired,” Los Mochis coach Luis Castro said through a translator. “This game was very relaxing to us.”
Los Mochis sent nine batters to the plate and collected five hits during the third inning to push the game out of reach.
Third baseman Irving Ruiz doubled down the left-field line and left fielder Eduardo Luque chopped a single into shallow left for the first two runs and a 6-0 lead. Pitcher Gerardo Romero’s two-run single made it 8-0 before shortstop Javier Lopez drove in the ninth run with a sacrifice fly.
Overall, seven players had two hits, and three of those seven collected multiple RBI.
Los Mochis scored two runs in each of the first two innings to take an early 4-0 lead.
Second baseman Alonso Villarreal singled home Lopez in the bottom of the first, later scoring himself when Chesterfield County shortstop Dylan Gentry’s off-balance throw sailed wide of the base.
In the second, center fielder Gerardo Quinonez executed a suicide squeeze to score Ruiz, and Luque slid home safely on a passed ball.
Los Mochis’ three base-runners that inning reached on a walk and two bunt base hits.
Chesterfield County finally got some offense in the top of the fourth thanks to a two-run double from Trey Ramsey and a three-run homer to center field from Eric Hubbard.
Those runs provided a momentary spark for Chesterfield, but they were nothing like the hitting display the Mexicans put on Tuesday.
“We practice and we talk about hitting, to see the ball,” Lara said. “All is good.”
Romero struck out four over five innings. … Ramsey had a pair of hits for Chesterfield. … The winner of the Mexican Zone had gone 2-6 the last three years.