Yard Dogs 3, Rosebuds 0

‘Holguin Pitches Yard Dogs to the Ring’

Jason Johnson, special to MSBL

Maryvale Baseball Park, October 26, 2014 – A pitcher’s duel heated up the Valley of the Sun when the Santa Rosa Rosebuds and San Gabriel Valley Yard Dogs clashed in the 18 Central Division Championship. Yard Dogs starting pitcher and team MVP Mario Holguin put his team on his back pitching a four-hit shutout and when the dust settled the Yard Dogs were celebrating their first ever World Series title.

“He pitched a great game,” said Yard Dogs manager Joe Torres. “He looked a little shaky in the beginning but he just manned it up we did our job.”

Holguin walked the first two batters of the game but settled down after that striking out the next three. In the bottom half of the inning the Yard Dogs got their offense going when Martin Rodriguez led off with a single, stole second, and scored when Jesse Sweet drove a double to center field. Sweet would eventually score on an RBI groundout by Danny Godoy to put the Yard Dogs up 2-0.

Rodriguez was a spark plug at the top of the order reaching base safely in all four plate appearances and stealing two bases. He also dazzled with his glove making great defensive plays at both second base and shortstop.

“He’s done this the whole tournament,” said Torres. “He wasn’t our normal leadoff hitter but we put him in that spot and he took the job seriously and exploded. He also made some defensive plays that were great too.”

After the first inning Rosebuds starting pitcher Anthony Villamore settled down and gave up just three hits over the next five innings until the Yard Dogs tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Joseph Moose drove in Robert Williams with a two-out single to increase their lead to 3-0.

“We had our little lefty, Anthony, on the mound and he came out and gave it everything he had,” said Rosebuds manager Mike Miller. “He already pitched once this week and he came out and gave us seven strong and did a great job.

In pool play the Yard Dogs cruised to a 4-1 record and defeated the River City Reds 11-4 in the semifinals with Frankie Cervantez earning the win. To get to the championship it was all about everybody doing their job, said Torrez. He added that no one stood out over anybody else and it was a team effort. The team was put together at the last minute with several local players and the jelled instantly which Torrez attributed to their success.

The Rosebuds earned a 3-1-1 record in pool play and defeated the Tri Valley Bandits in the semifinals 4-3 behind the arm of Miller. Catcher Dom Coca caught five out of six games heading into the championship game and shortstop Sam Bruno led the offense throughout the tournament batting third in the lineup.

In their first tournament the Rosebuds were unable to come away with the title but still had some of the greatest baseball experiences they’ve ever had.

“This is our first time down here and a lot of us played college ball,” said Miller. “A lot of guys said this was probably the most fun trip they’ve had in baseball so far. We’ll be back next year for sure.”