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Victoria Southwest defeats Hallettsville All-Stars (w/gallery, video)

By Julie Garcia
July 11, 2014 at 2:11 a.m.

The Victoria Southwest team says a prayer before the 12-year-olds sectional tournament against Hallettsville at the Victoria Youth Sports Complex.

After defeating Calhoun for the District 27 championship, the Victoria Southwest 12-year-old All-Stars continued their winning streak Friday against Hallettsville in the first day of the sectional tournament.

After Hallettsville scored a run in the first inning, the game was stagnant for more than five innings before Victoria Southwest pulled out all the stops and scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning.

"That's why you play six innings," said Victoria Southwest coach Abe Zarate. "I told them they needed to have good at-bats, and they gutted it out at the end."

As a coach during the regular Little League season, Zarate sees various levels of talent on the baseball field. But during all-stars, he knows he is coaching the best.

"These are the ones who have performed all year - this is a reward for them. It's great to see them all work hard, put in all the effort during the year and it paying off."

Caden Jander said he considers being on the Victoria Southwest all-star team an honor.

"I think of it as an honor to be on a team with some of the greatest people in Southwest," Jander said after the game. "I think we're going to support Southwest well."

Zarate gives credit where it is due and said Hallettsville's Ryan Targac pitched well.

"I take my hat off to their pitcher; he pitched a great game," Zarate said.

Hallettsville coach Colby Schindler agrees and said that this was the best game Targac has pitched so far.

"With the pitch count, you can't rely on just one pitcher, but no matter who we put on the mound, we have a chance to win," Schindler said.

Schindler said he is proud of Hallettsville's performance and looks forward to facing Beeville on Saturday at 6 p.m.

"These are the best kids in Hallettsville; I feel like we compete at the best level every time," he said. "I'm proud of them tonight. They held them off until the end."

Victoria Southwest will face Lamar on Saturday at 6 p.m. Lamar defeated Beeville 11-0 Friday night.

"They are a tough team," Zarate said about Lamar. "But this is a good group of boys who don't quit, and that's all I can ask of them."

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