|2013 45+ Wood Bat Kickoff Classic champion So Cal Matanzas|
Mercado and Verdecia pace Matanzas
So Cal Matanzas 5, 3n2 Rangers 4
By Tom Taylor, for MSBLNational.com
Arroyo Grande Complex, Henderson, Nev. — The 3n2 Rangers were looking to defend thetitle they won at the 2012 Kickoff Classic, and the So Cal Matanzas were looking for their first title of 2013.
In a battle of two veteran, battle-tested teams with undefeated records tournament records, Matanzas, with some help from former major leaguer, Jose Canseco, and MVP Eddie Mercado, defeated the 3n2 Rangers 5-4 to claim the 45-and-over Kickoff title.
Rangers shortstop Rich Seiler put the Rangers ahead with an RBI in the first inning. He later drove in the team’s final run in the eighth inning. He finished with two hits and two RBI. Teammate Tom Doherty was 1-for-3 with a double.
Matanzas right hander Eddie Mercado used an array of fastballs and breaking balls to keep the Rangers hitters off balance all afternoon. Meanwhile, the Mantanza offense went to work in the fifth inning when former big leaguer Jose Canseco roped a long, RBI double to straight away centerfield.
Designated hitter Eric Orue was the hitting star on this day. His two-out double to the left centerfield gap in the bottom of the seventh scored what proved to be the winning run of the ballgame. He finished 2-for-3 with two RBI. Teammate Raul Verdecia was 3-for-3 on the day with two stolen bases and a double.
Mercado tossed all nine allowing just six hits and four runs – three earned. He had no walks and struck out five and was named as the team’s tournament MVP. Mercado was the winning pitcher in all three of the team’s playoff wins. That run included two complete games. He threw the last 13 innings of the tournament for Matanzas.