The Seguin Seniors Little League baseball team has been hot at the plate.
After rolling through the District 31 baseball tournament in June, and outscoring their opponents 53-5 in the process, Seguin had a month off before the Southwestern Regional tournament’s first game Friday night at Smokey Joe Williams Field.
But the time off did not cool the bats down, as Seguin jumped on Oklahoma (Tulsa Little League) early and often, scoring four runs in the first inning on the way to a 9-2 win.
“We came out on fire,” head coach Shawn Osborne said. “Every kid was doing their job in that first inning, putting the bat on the ball and doing what we’ve been working on. We went through the district tournament on a hot run, but we’ve still got to keep woking.”
Seguin is one of six teams vying for a spot in the Senior League World Series (July 27-Aug. 3 in Easley, South Carolina) at the Southwestern Regional, which Seguin won the right to host by winning the district tournament.
Leadoff hitter Tristan Moreno, the Gazette’s Player of the Year this spring after a stellar season as just a sophomore with Seguin High School, got things started early with a first-pitch swinging double to right field.
“As everybody saw through the high school season, he lit it up through the season and hasn’t stopped since he got here,” Osborne said. “He’s doing everything we expected out of him and more.”
Moreno was driven home from second when Clark Ullrich singled to right, and just two batters in, Seguin had a 1-0 lead.
Ullrich came around to score after stealing second when Stephen Kent hit a line drive and an errant throw from the outfield that allowed him to score for the 2-0 lead.
“Stephen did real well tonight,” Osborne said. “He lit it up on the mound and at the plate. But every kid out there did something tonight, with an RBI or just putting the ball into play.”
Kent advanced to second on his hit and the error, and then moved to third on a balk, before Cory Mazzurana hit a deep shot to left field and scored Kent on the tag up from third for a 3-0 lead.
Jaxen Monkerud then singled, and scored on a Aden Supak shot to the shortstop, and an errant throw to first, to give Seguin the 4-0 lead.
The four runs would be all Seguin needed, as Kent pitched four scoreless innings on just 30-plus pitches.
“He was lights out, dominant,” Osborne said. “We held him to 30-something pitches, wanting to use him throughout the tournament. He did exactly what I expected him to do tonight, I couldn’t have asked any more from him.”
The Seguin defense recorded three double plays on the night.
“It’s what we’ve worked on all week, turning the double play,“ Osborne said. “We probably worked that play more than anything else in practice, and it shows whenever these kids come out and do what they are supposed to do.”
Seguin added a run each in the second, fourth and fifth innings to take a 7-0 lead, before Oklahoma finally got on the board with two runs in the fifth to make it 7-2.
The six teams here for the regional all won their way in via district, regional and state tournaments, so Osborne is well aware of the competition Seguin will face to make it through and qualify for the World Series.
“We don’t know the teams, but we know the towns,” Osborne said. “West University (Texas East) is here every year, New Mexico and Louisiana are always here. We see the same coaches, but the kids are always changing.
“You never know what you are going to see. Every team here is the best in their state and they are here for a reason.”
The seniors team is made up of players from Seguin and Navarro, and they’ve had years of experience together.
“Most of these kids have played together since they were 5, 6 or 7 years old,“ Osborne said. “They all know each other and it plays well for us, that they’re used to playing for each other.”
For the game, Moreno went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Monkerud, Otto Gueldner and Bryce Nall had two hits apiece. Kent and Ullrich had two RBI’s each on the night.
Texas East (West University LL) won the second game over New Mexico (East Mountain LL), 9-4. Texas East played Louisiana (Alexandria LL) last night. Oklahoma and New Mexico were relegated to the loser’s bracket.
The win moved Seguin on to play Texas West (Snyder Little League) last night after press time. Look for the story in Tuesday’s Seguin Gazette.
Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.