OC Rays 11, Albuquerque Sox 3

‘Rodriguez Takes Control on the Bump’

Submitted by Andres Velarde, Rays manager

Last year around thanksgiving, our coach Daniel Cardenas gave the idea of going to Las Vegas and playing in the Las Vegas Kickoff tournament in March 2020. We were playing on a Sunday afternoon and one of our best players said he was interested in going and wanted to play so we decided to take our chances and sign up. When we first saw the schedule we had no idea who these teams were but we knew one thing; our team is the best and no one will beat us. We had the right guys going and we feel our team chemistry is the best. The players that play in our regular Sunday league are the ones playing in tournaments.

We were anxious to get out to Las Vegas because 1: it’s a weekend full of baseball and 2: we get to break our regular routine at home. Our offense and pitching were going to show up the entire tournament. We came out swinging in the first game and didn’t look back. Matt Homstad – CF, Andrew Alvarez -1B and Aj David -3B led the team in hits with 10 each. Our offense put up a total of 72 runs in five games. Our pitching was stellar as well as we only allowed 13 runs in the tourney. Adam Bartzack, Adam Koutz, Fernando Medina, Oscar Rodarte and Sammy Rodriguez picked up a win in each of their starts.

The Championship game was really close the first four innings with Albuquerque White Sox battling Sammy Rodriguez. Aj David opened up the scoring with a deep right field home run to put us 1-0. Sammy kept falling behind and was allowing Albuquerque chances to score. Once Sammy settled in, he was dealing. He went all nine innings and put up double-digit strikeouts. Once we started hitting their starter and putting up runs, we knew we were going to win this game. Sammy was on a roll the rest of the game and with stellar defense the entire game we were able to complete the victory 11-3 and win our 3rd Las Vegas Kick-Off Championship.