There are just six teams from across the country playing in the Seniors Baseball Little League World Series starting this weekend.
Those six teams came from six different regional tournaments, one of those the Southwestern Regional Championship, held over the last week here in Seguin.
In the final three of that tournament was the Seguin Seniors Little League team, which faced Texas West (Snyder LL) — for the second time — in what amounted to a semifinal game for the regional championship.
And for the second straight game, and the third in four nights, the boys from Seguin were involved in a one-run contest.
Unfortunately, just as in the first time they squared off against the team from Synder, Seguin would rally in the last inning but came up one run short to Texas West, falling Tuesday night, 8-7, eliminating them from contention.
It may have been the deepest run by a senior league team in Seguin history.
“I don’t know that a senior league team has ever made it this far,” head coach Shawn Osborne told his players after the game. “Remember this for the rest of your lives, because this is where it’s at. This is where it’s fun — and this is where it’s pure.”
Seguin finished the summer championship season 15-3.
Seguin took the lead early in the game, scoring three times in the second inning for a 3-1 lead.
Aden Supak was hit by a pitch, and after Otto Gueldner struck out, remained at first with two outs.
Martin Ramirez singled on a line drive to right, and Supak scored after a Kaden Monkerud shot just over the third baseman’s head to bring him in from second.
Ramirez scored with some nifty base running from third base, getting credited for a steal of home after the ball got away from the catcher to make it 2-1.
The two-out rally continued with Tristan Moreno reaching first on a throw in the dirt to the first baseman, and Monkerud moved to third.
Moreno stole second, and an errant throw from the catcher went into the outfield, allowing Monkerud to score from third to put Seguin up by two.
But Texas West would take the lead for good in the bottom of the third inning, scoring three times on three hits and a sacrifice fly to go back up by one at 4-3.
The team from Snyder added two more runs in the fourth, getting a double and a single to score the first run, and a sacrifice fly deep to left field to bring in the second run for a 6-3 lead.
Texas West hit the ball hard for most of the night.
“They hit the ball well,” Osborne said. “They are a good team, and I hope they make it all the way.”
Seguin came right back in the fifth with two runs, with Jaxen Monkerud and Stephen Kent scoring on a passed ball and smart base running to cut the lead to 6-5.
But Seguin missed several opportunities to score more runs, leaving eight batters stranded on the night.
“We didn’t do what we needed to do at the plate,” Osborne said. “The hits didn’t come when we needed them too.”
Texas West added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth for the 8-5 lead, setting up another dramatic seventh inning.
Seguin would not go quietly once again, as they rallied for the fourth consecutive night when trailing late in a ballgame.
Kent got things started with a single, and Cory Mazzurana smoked a double in the gap to put runners at second and third with no outs.
Kent would score on an error by the catcher to cut the lead to one, and Mazzurana advanced to third on the same play.
But a rules question turned into a long delay before Supak singled to right. Mazzurana would score one batter later on another error, and the lead was down to one, 8-7.
Supak advanced to third on yet another throwing error, giving Seguin the tying run at third base with two outs.
But Kaden Monkerud’s grounder to the second baseman was handled easily, and the throw to first for the final out ended the rally — and the game.
Seguin was playing it’s fifth game in five straight nights at the tournament.
“Our kids are tired and beat up,” Osborne said. “It was five games in a row, a lot of late nights and lot of sore bodies.
Jaxen Monkerud went nearly the entire game on the mound for Seguin, pitching 6 1/3 innings, giving up 12 hits and six earned runs on the night.
“We couldn’t have asked for more out of him,” Osborne said. “He kept it close for seven innings, but we fell just a little short on offense.”
Kaden Monkerud, Kent and Mazzurana had two hits each on the night, while Kent scored twice, and five other players scored one run each for Seguin.
Coach Osborne was thankful for the team’s run through the District 31 championship, and getting to the semifinal game of the regional tournament.
“I think this is the farthest any senior league team has been in the regional tournament, as far as wins and getting to the semifinal game,” he said. “It was a great run through district. We didn’t really see a whole lot of competition, but we got ready for this regional tournament because we knew there was going to be a ton of competition here. We ran into it twice, that’s for sure, they were a better team and came out ahead this time.”
Seguin’s only defeats at the tournament came in the two one-run losses to Texas West.
“It’s a one-run loss,” Osborne said. “A little hit here, a run there, and it could have gone a totally different way.”
Seguin finished the summer season just short of the regional championship game — and making the Senior League World Series.
“For sure, I thought about this team making it (to the World Series),” Osborne said. “The team really came to fruition when we went through district, and I saw how well they played there and in our first game of the regional tournament. Sometimes you just see something that makes you think a team is special and could do a lot of things — this team is very special and will always be very special to me.”