Tournaments | Championship | 8/3/2020

Banditos Win a Close One at 16u South WS

Jerry Miller        
Photo: Banditos Scout Team 16u (Perfect Game)

Dallas Tigers 16U-Polk (4) (V)
Banditos Scout 16U (1) (H)

The Banditos Scout 16U club rode dominant pitching which saw the opposition strike out 17 times, and their usual air-tight defense, to a 2-0 semi-finals victory over the Dallas Tigers 16U-Polk. They also took advantage of their few offensive opportunities, mixing in some old-school fundamental execution that included delayed steals and sacrifice bunts, to battle their way to the finals.

Starting on the hill for the victorious Bandito squad, and continuing his outstanding summer on the bump, was lefthander, JC Gutierrez (2022, Mission, TX). The 5-10, 175 pound, uncommitted rising junior at La Joya HS, lives on the arm side edge, pitching primarily off his two fastballs. His heavy sinking, 85-86 mph two-seamer is a bat breaker. The 87-89 mph four seamer is thrown with purpose as his swing and miss, out pitch. His 73 mph, 12 to 6 breaking, curveball was worked to both edges of the plate and was especially tough on lefthanded hitters. The poised southpaw struck out eight and allowed only one hit.

Following Gutierrez to the bump was 6-1, 200 pound, University of Houston commit, Nicholas Solis (2021, Mercedes, TX). The Weslaco East senior to be, used a dominant two-pitch mix to completely shut down any hope of a Dallas Tiger comeback. The barrel-chested lefthanded pitcher worked both edges with a dominant fastball that sat in the 88-89 mph range and touched 90 mph on more than one occasion. He showed just enough of his tight spinning, 12 to 6 breaking, 68 mph curveball to make every Tiger at-bat rather uncomfortable. Solis closed out the semi-finals, throwing 77 pitches over four innings. He struck out nine and only allowed one hit.

Canes Southwest Premier 2022 (10) (V)
STIX 2022 Black (3) (H)

Riding two, strike throwing, command and control pitchers, timely hitting, and sound defense, the STIX 2022 Black club, out of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, bested Canes Southwest Premier 2022, 6-2.

Drake Dowd (2022, Arlington, TX) started on the bump for the victorious STIX squad. The junior to be at Mansfield Legacy HS, threw four, one-hit innings at the heavy hitting Canes club. He used a sound three-pitch mix highlighted by a lively, 82-85 mph fastball that he threw to the lower half of the zone, consistently staying off the heart of the plate. His two secondary pitches, a 70 mph sweeping curveball and a 75 mph change-up were thrown with conviction and were plus out pitches. The 6-foot, 185 pound poised southpaw, struck out three and walked four in his commendable stint on the hill.

Following Dowd to the mound was Aidan Rojas (2022, Keller, TX) a rising junior at Timber Creek HS. The 5-9, 157 pound, bulldog of a righthander, worked with great pace and a definite plan as he used an 82-84 mph fastball and a 65 mph curveball to limit an outstanding Canes offense to only two runs and five hits over four innings. Rojas struck out four as he closed out the all important semi-final victory for the STIX.

Four STIX hitters, Landon Weidner (2022, Flower Mound, TX), Owen Proksch (2022, Southlake, TX), Andrew Taylor (Arlington, TX), and Clark Springs (Southlake, TX) all drove loud doubles during the contest to lead the 2022 Black offense.

Championship Game

Like many final games in multi-day tournaments, the championship often times becomes a battle of attrition. Today, as both the temperature and humidity rose at the Premier Baseball complex in suburban north Houston, it became evident early on that the winner would be the club that could string together enough pitching and get just enough offense, to make it to the finish line. In the championship final, between two outstanding programs and teams, the day, in the end, belonged to the Banditos Scout 16U.

The Banditos come at you in waves. As has been their longtime program philosophy, their rosters are always deep and talented. This particular Banditos team never feels they are out of a game. And, with their line-up, that is usually true. Trailing 3-0 going into the bottom of the 2nd inning, to a very talented STIX 2022 Black squad out of the Colleyville-Grapevine area in the DFW metroplex, the Tomball, Texas-based black clad Banditos, put a two spot on the board to climb back into the contest. They missed on a few opportunities in the next few innings to not only tie the game, but to take the lead, as they struggled to get the key knock against a STIX pitching staff that battled throughout the day.

The Banditos took the lead for good in the bottom of the 5th inning, putting four runs on the scoreboard. The gritty, well-coached, fundamentally sound STIX club refused to go quietly, however. Scoring two runs in the top of the 7th, STIX had the tying and go ahead runs on base when the Banditos turned a STIX line-drive into a double play. A ground ball later, and the Banditos Scout 16U team, like they have done so many times before, walked off the Premier Field 3 with yet another championship trophy.

The 16U South World Series saw a number of well-played games, by some truly gifted players and teams. The best two clubs, without question, made it to the finals and gave all of those in attendance a championship effort and an exciting conclusion to a great week of baseball. Both the STIX 2022 Black and the Banditos Scout Team 16U are to be commended. The Banditos, by the slimmest of margins, are to be congratulated for capturing the 2020 16U South World Series Championship.

MVP: Owen Proksch – STIX 2022 Black
MVPitcher: Magnus Miller – Banditos Scout 16U
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