2021 35+ Wood Bat

Houston Gamblers 10, Montebello Angels 5

Submitted by Pedro Rivera, Gambler’s manager

First of all, we’d like to thank everyone involved to put the tournament together. It was a pleasure being a part of it even after all the changes made last minute and parks being in short stock. I also want to thank our co-manager Carlos Ramon for all of his help in making this work

The championship game against the Montebello Angels, having played them in previous years as a pool player, I knew was going to be tough. Before we left Houston, I told my guys to look for that being the team to beat and could possibly be our opponent in a championship game. Everything to that point had gone as planned, as we took all our starters deep into games and closed them out with Jusef Frias.

I’d like to thank Mike Williams, Ulysus Rodriguez, Brandon Goswick, and our team MVP Jimmy Rivera who all threw five innings in their starts and fought to give us a chance to win our games.  As planned, Jusef was set up to pitch the championship game since he’d pitched in many championship games back home and definitely wouldn’t want anyone else to have the ball.  But in the first inning he really struggled to get the ball down and the umpire wasn’t giving the outside corner. The Angels hit a pair of home runs in the first couple of innings to put them up 4-1.

Jusef and our catcher Balde Ruiz have been battery-mates for many years and know each other well and were trying to figure out how to get a few calls and obviously who not to pitch in to.  Once they figured this out the game slowed down and our horse worked.

In the fifth inning, Juan “primeco” Careaga didn’t need the wind that was blowing out towards right field as he notched a 3-run home run to center field to tie the game. At this point Jusef was dealing on the mound without much traffic at all on the bases by the Angels.  In the sixth inning our team MVP Jimmy Rivera came up with a pair of runners and had been huge the whole tournament.  He definitely came up big once again by hitting his fourth home run in the tournament with a 3-run blast to put us up 7-4. From there we managed a few more runs off a passed ball, a bases loaded walk and a seeing eye single to put us at 10-4

In the ninth after Jusef had thrown eight innings he started tiring a little, allowing a home run by their shortstop who had hit one in the first, then a walk and a single but that was all the motivation he needed.  He then proceeded to get the next two outs and then a popup to our shortstop Brandon Goswick to end the game.

Once again thank you so much for the opportunity and looking forward to defend our title in 2022!