Tournaments | Championship | 9/15/2020

Banditos Clinch Bid at South Qualifier

Jerry Miller        
Photo: Banditos Scout Team (Perfect Game)
Two quality programs, the Banditos and Texas Twelve, sent outstanding clubs into the Finals of the 2020 WWBA South Qualifier in Tomball, Texas on Monday. On the line, a berth in the 2020 WWBA World Championship.

The Banditos starting pitcher, Xavier Perez (2022, Corpus Christi, TX) was a one man wrecking crew as he pitched and hit his club to the 2020 WWBA South Qualifier Championship. The Banditos won the ultimate contest, 3-2, over a tough, gritty, and always competitive Texas Twelve Black club. Perez, a University of Florida commit, broke open a scoreless game with two outs in the top of the second inning when he drove a 2-2 change-up off the very top of the left centerfield fence to plate two runners and give the Banditos an early 2-0 lead. He then knocked home the Banditos third and final run of the ball game with an infield grounder in the 5th.

On top of his outstanding day at the plate, the 6-1, 190 pound righty, was masterful in going 6 2/3 innings against the powerful Texas Twelve Black 2021 club. The Veterans Memorial HS junior worked his 84-87 mph fastball to both edges and his 75 mph tight breaking slider with a craftsman’s confidence. He pitched like a veteran hurler much his senior. It is very easy to see why Xavier is headed to Gainesville, and the Southeastern Conference, once his high school days are over.

The never-say-die Twelve club rallied in the 7th and finally dented the scoreboard against Perez. St. Johns HS senior, Katcher Halligan (2021, Sugar Land, TX) doubled home two runners with two outs in the 7th. Rio Grande City HS senior and Incarnate Word commit, Michael Ramos (2021, Rio Grande City, TX) then relieved Perez and induced a harmless ground ball to shortstop to end a highly entertaining and well-played championship contest.

Both of these teams deserved to be in the championship game. They are similar in roster make-up and playing style. The Banditos and Twelve emphasize quality on the mound. Their pitchers must be able to work fast and throw strikes. Both programs consistently play sound fundamental defense. Offensively, the Banditos and Twelve put quality at-bat after quality at-bat together and come at opponents in waves. The Banditos, at least on this day, had a future Gator dominate from the first pitch until he was pulled with one out left in the contest. He also brought his bat to the yard. That one-two punch from a gifted player, who had outstanding support from his black clad teammates, was enough to give the Banditos the championship.

Congratulations to both the Banditos Scout Team and Texas Twelve Black. You represented your programs well all summer, and especially well this weekend.

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