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Tournaments | Story | 7/3/2019

Banditos battle to championship

Nate Schweers     
Photo: Banditos Scout Team 16u (Perfect Game)

DALLAS – In what was a back-and-forth battle at Dallas Baptist University on Wednesday afternoon, Banditos Scout Team 16u was crowned the champion of the 2019 WWBA 16u South National Championship, knocking off Texas Twelve Silver by a score of 8-5.

After losing a game in pool play and sneaking into the playoffs as a wild card, the Banditos Scout Team was able to find their stroke at the plate and put on an offensive show, scoring a combined 20 runs in their three playoff games. After trading runs back-and-forth throughout the first half of the game, the Banditos Scout Team found themselves down a run with just six outs to play with in the top half of the sixth.

“This is a veteran group. We’ve been down before, and we’ve come back before,” said Banditos Scout Team 16u head coach Ken Krahenbul. “We play one base at a time, and we always come through in the clutch and we know our pitches are going to keep us in the game. We battle, that’s what we do.”

The Banditos Scout Team did in fact come through in the clutch on Wednesday, scoring four runs on six hits to take the commanding 8-5 lead. After tying the game at five with a run-scoring single from Casen Neumann, Trey Rucker and Heriberto Emmanuel Garza each came through with big hits to create the separation.

The MVP of the tournament after a stellar performance in the championship game was Kobe Andrade. Andrade was 3-for-3 on Wednesday, with a long home run over the wall in right field. Though the Texas A&M commit had a slow start to the tournament, he was able to make some adjustments and come through when it counted.

“I went back to my hotel room, worked on my swing, and I just kept going until I got it right,” said Andrade. “Sure enough it clicked here in the last couple games of tournament and it worked out well for us. 3-for-3 is a great day, but we’re not satisfied.”

“Kobe is a big player that comes through in big games,” said coach Krahenbul. “Kobe does what Kobe does.”

Following the big four-run sixth inning, Banditos Scout Team passed the ball onto power righty John Rizzo. Rizzo was lights out from the bullpen for his team and he was able to shut the door on yet another championship for his team.

Before Wednesday’s exciting championship game, tournament MV-Pitcher Victor Loa was able to turn in his second dominant start of the event in the semifinals. Loa, who is uncommitted in the 2021 class, was proud of his performance and thinks it can build great momentum into the 2019 WWBA 16u National Championship that starts Friday in Georgia.

“My curveball was dicing, so it was a great secondary pitch for me to use all tournament,” said Loa. “The adrenaline that we still have right now is going to carry on into Atlanta, and it’s going to be a great time for us.”

Andrade thinks there is more in store for this group as well.

“This is huge momentum for us. We’re going to be in a great tournament with a bunch of great teams, but we’re not satisfied with just this one. We came up short last year, so we are going to try and redeem ourselves and win the tournament.”

2019 16u WWBA South National Championship runner-up: Texas Twelve Silver

2019 16u WWBA South National Championship MVP: Kobe Andrade

2019 16u WWBA South National Championship MV-Pitcher: Victor Loa

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