Las Huertas 9, Central California Nuts 1
‘Rodarte Takes Control on the Mound’
By Rodney Johnson, special to MSBL
Tempe Diablo Stadium, October 22, 2017– Las Huertas rode the complete game pitching of Mario Rodarte to a 9-1 win in the18+ Mountain Division Championship Game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Las Huertas is a group from Southern California. Their opponent, the Nuts hail from the Fresno area of Central California. It was the first trip to the MSBL World Series for each team.
Las Huertas opened the scoring in the second inning by plating three unearned runs.Greg Castellanos’ two-RBI single followed by a sacrifice fly by Candelaro Flores gave the Southern Cal contingent a lead they would never relinquish. Castellanos performance was rewarded by his being named Tournament MVP. “This is my first ring, and the first one for a lot of our guys,” beamed Las Huertas manager Guillermo Morales. “This is something we will never forget.”
Las Huertas top pitcher, Andres Torres, won his semifinal start the day before and was unavailable for the championship game. Rodarte got the ball and didn’t disappoint. “He (Rodarte) came out dealing and hit his spots,” said Morales. “He pitched a wonderful game.” Rodarte gave up a leadoff single to David Beckenhour to begin the game, but then picked him off of first base. He didn’t allow another hit until the seventh inning. In the eighth, already trailing 9-0 with one out, the Nuts next four hitters reached on two singles and a pair of walks. The last walk plated the Nuts only run of the game. Rodarte got the next two hitters to end the threat.
The middle of Las Huertas order carried the load at the plate. Between them, Mario Chavarrin, Martin Rodriguez, Juan Reveles, Greg Castellanos and Jamie Galindo went 11-for-17, scored 8 runs and added 5 RBI. The quintet made up the number five through nine spots batting order. “I’m not going to forget the chemistry of this team,” said Morales. “We came here together, bonded together, and won it together.”
Las Huertas went 4-1 in pool play, good for a second place finish. In the semifinals they beat the Arizona Thieves 6-2 and advance to the finals. They earned the top seed when the first place Arizona Angels lost to the Cen Cal Nuts 2-1 in their playoff matchup. The Nuts finished third in pool play with a 4-2 record.
Nuts manager David Geiger agreed that Las Huertas was the toughest team they faced in the tournament. “They really are a good team,” praised Geiger. “They played hard and deserved to win.” The Nuts rode starting pitcher Nathan Lee throughout the tournament. The championship game was Lee’s fifth game on the mound including a complete game effort the day before in a semifinal win. “We just kind of ran out of gas today” said Geiger. “We had one extra game in the round robin and it was hard on us. This team fought hard all tournament. We’ll be back and will try to bring a little more pitching with us next time.”
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cen California 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 6 1
Las Huertas 0 3 0 3 0 1 2 0 x 9 15 1
Pitching Line: (Central California) Nathan Lee, Joe Britton (6). (Las Huertas) Mario Rodarte.
WP:Rodarte LP: Lee.
2B:Flores (L.H); Becerra (L.H.).
Leading Hitters: Central California: Davic Beckenhour 2×4, R; David Geiger 2 BB, HBP, RBI. Las Huertas: Martin Rodriguez 3×3, 2 R; Juan Revelas 3×4, 2 R; Jamie Galindo 3×4, 2 RBI; Greg Castellanos 2×3, 3 RBI.
SF:Flores (L.H.); Camarena (l.H.).
SB: Beckenhour (CC); Rodrigez (L.H.); Castellanos (L.H.)
Team LOB:Central California 10; Las Huertas 11.
Time of Game: 2:29