LITTLE LEAGUE: Late hit lifts Southwest All-Stars to win
Baseball is a relatively simple game.
Even for 9- and 10-year-olds.
In the opening game of the District 27 Area I Little League Tournament, the Victoria Northwest and Victoria Southwest All-Stars found themselves entangled in a 5-5 tie entering the bottom of the sixth inning.
Despite the pressure of the situation, Dawson Holly was at ease as he stepped to the plate.
"My coach just told me to put the bat on the ball, and I just touched the ball, and it went, and it was enough to score," Holly said of his game-winning hit. "I felt like I did the best thing I could tonight."
Holly was one of just two players to record multiple hits in the game, but none was more important than his RBI single in the sixth to send teammate Jordan Fillmore across home plate, giving the Southwest a 6-5 victory at the Victoria Youth Sports Complex on Monday evening.
After trailing 5-4 entering the fifth inning, the Northwest rallied to tie the game 5-5 on Zeke Holder's run.
But momentum would shift in the sixth inning, when Fillmore hit a double to start the bottom half of the inning, setting the stage for Holly's big hit.
"We kept telling them every inning to just get good at bats and something is going to happen, and it broke through in that last inning," Southwest head coach Abe Zarate said. "It is hard to keep them focused because they are nine and 10, but we talk to them all the time and do a lot of coaching of the field, just trying to give them a little guidance and keep their head in it."
The strategy worked as the Southwest scored in four of the six innings played.
The Northwest, however, was the first to strike as Coy Upton and Colton Stindt each scored in the second inning to claim a 2-0 lead.
It did not take long for the Southwest to respond, though.
Colton Salas, Jake West and Basil Valenzuela each scored to give the Southwest its first lead of the evening at 3-2.
The Southwest would extend the lead to 4-2 in the third as Ky Zarate scored, but the Northwest tied the score at 4-4 in the top of the fourth on runs from Stindt and Darren Slatter.
In the bottom of the inning, the Southwest answered as Zarate hit a RBI double to score Dawson.
But again, the lead was not safe as the Northwest's Zeke Holder scored to tie the game 5-5.
"I think we played a phenomenal ballgame," Northwest head coach Scott Graham said. "To lose by one run at the very end of the game, obviously everyone wants to win, but going down with a loss like that, we can handle that because these boys played one heck of a ballgame."
The Southwest advances to play Goliad, which had a bye Monday, the Northwest will face Kenedy in its second game. Both games will be played at the Victoria Youth Sports Complex at 7 p.m. Tuesday.