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Braves earn bragging rights (w/video)

By Julie Garcia
June 5, 2014 at 1:05 a.m.

AAA Concrete  pitcher Mason Longoria delivers a pitch down home plate at the Victoria Little League City Championship game on Rent-A-Center Field at the Youth Sports Complex.

Neither team in the Victoria Little League City Championship was willing to make Thursday night's title game a quick one.

Southeast AAA Concrete, the 2013 defending City Champions, and Southwest South Texas Eye Center Braves each knew what was on the line when the game was over: bragging rights for an entire year.

Southwest won the game after nearly three hours 18-5.

Southwest manager Abe Zarate drafted the incoming 10-year-old majors three years ago knowing that it would pay off eventually.

"We had a great season going undefeated 17-0," Zarate said. "We beat a great team today over there. I'm so proud of them, they did a great job. They're a great group of kids and a great group of parents."

After the game, Southwest's players ran together in the outfield in what Zarate called a team unity exercise.

"We have a process that we implemented in practice and games, and it worked," he said. "I don't remember the last time Southwest won the City Championship."

Southwest took an early lead in the top of the second inning with two runs. Southeast caught up and took the lead in the bottom of the third with a double that brought in three runs.

A long fifth inning would put Southwest ahead by eight runs to bring the score to 11-3.

Southeast wasn't going out just yet.

In the bottom of the fifth, Southeast scored two runs to close the gap to 11-5.

In the sixth inning, Southwest sealed its championship fate when it scored six more runs to win the game 18-5.

Southeast coach Jesse Tipton watched his older son, Mason, win the Class 4A state semifinal game with Victoria East before rushing back home to coach AAA Concrete.

"Overall, we had a very good season, and I think the kids learned a lot tonight about errors and mistakes," Tipton said. "Hopefully, they learn from that and come back better players next year."

Though his team lost Thursday, he is confident East will come out on top Friday to bring Victoria its first state baseball championship in nearly 30 years.

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