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LAS VEGAS, May 27, 2013 – Three years after their
previous Las Vegas Open title, Mario Diaz’ So Cal Matanzas squad once again
ascended to the gold medal stand at the 2013 tournament with an 8-6 win over a
very tough Utah Pirates team.
The win avenged a 4-3 loss to Utah in the semifinals of
the Desert Classic in Palm Springs in January.
Matanzas is no stranger to first place. It won three
Vegas Open titles in a row in the 35-and-over division from 2008-2010. This
time they had to be Utah’s ironman Danny Pawelek. The 60-something Pawelek had
already thrown 11 tournament innings prior to the finals.
Dave Rice threw eight-and-a-third innings for the win. Eddie
Mercado, the winning pitcher in the semifinal game, earned a save. Pawelek
lasted five innings and took the loss. Vic Valdez pitched the final three
The Matanzas pulled ahead in the fifth inning with a
little help from Lady Luck. Fred Russell lead off with a booming ground rule
double to right field, Mike Alcala's base hit to right center was nearly robbed
by a diving right fielder, but landed safely allowing Russell to score to make
it 4-2. Raul Verdecia hard grounder to second took a bad hop and jumped into
right field. A passed ball scored Alcala, and hits by Roger Hill and Kevin
Townsend made it 5-4 Matanzas.
sixth inning double and a single by Michael Alcala helped Matanzas stretch the
lead to 7-4. Eric Orue’s RBI single capped the scoring in the eight to make it 8-6.
Rice allowed four
runs in the first three innings, and then settled in allowing just two more the
rest of the way to pave the way for Mercado’s save.
Matanzas was an 8-2 victor when the teams met earlier in
the tournament. They finished undefeated in three round robin games, then
steamrolled the Cannacord Combines from Canada 19-5 in the semifinal. Utah, 2-1
in round robin play, downed the South Bay Zephyrs 6-2 in the semifinals with
Neil Warner earning a complete-game win. Dave Carter led all Pirate hitters on
the tournament with a .600 average.