New Mexico lost in the semifinals after a good run, while Oklahoma made the Regional final for the first time
By Arnie Leshin
Nothing new in the Little League Baseball Southwest Regional. Once again, the championship belonged to Texas East for the 25thtime, and again it was only East, Texas West and South Lake Charles, Louisiana, hoisting the trophy and advancing to the 75th annual World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Oklahoma made it to the SW final for the first time, showed stellar fielding, good pitching, and a lack of hitting that was shut down for the second time when Texas East prevailed 8-0 on Wednesday for its third straight victory.
East had enough fielding, hitting and pitching to first eliminate New Mexico in the semifinals played at Waco Park, then got to celebrate after its second win over Oklahoma. Oklahoma has now gone 2-14 at this Regional, with both triumphs coming this time with victories over Arkansas and the Carlsbad LL team representing the Land of Enchantment.
New Mexico played well. It lost 4-1 to the Texas team and 5-4 to Oklahoma, which was no-hit, but combined enough base on balls and errors to dispose
of a disappointed aged 11-13 team that displayed solid pitching, quality defense and no lack of hitting.
But Texas East from the Houston area had more depth on the mound, a well-balanced lineup, and enough stellar defense to win back-to-back over New Mexico and Oklahoma, which was headed for another no-hitter until it final picked up a two-out double to the right-centerfield fence with two out in its last at bat. Patrick then followed with a single past third, but both were left stranded. Before this, Oklahoma had gone 0-for-29 in the hit department.
All went well for Texas East, but for the first time Texas West was eliminated after two games. So in stepped New Mexico and its East rivals, but that wasn’t enough to overcome the Texas dynasty in this Regional.
South Lake Charles won once in three outings, both New Mexico
and Oklahoma went 2-2, but Oklahoma’s win in the semis got it into the title game.
Texas ran into several stellar hurlers against New Mexico and Oklahoma, but its batting order took command from top to bottom. Its star pitcher was its right-hander, Ryan Selvaggi, who won twice at Regional and had the no-hitter until he ran out of pitches (85) with one down in the sixth. In all, East accounted for 10 pitchers on its roster.
But the number one hurler could have been New Mexico southpaw Mack Mabrey, who won both his two starts and was one of the top hitters in the Regional.
Then there was righty Jeremyah Dominquez, a starter and a key reliever. And can’t overlook Nate Hernandez, who batted from the left side and drove three home runs over the fence at George W. Bush Youth Complex.
If not for Oklahoma winning despite being no-hit, and Texas East just putting all the pieces together, New Mexico might have made it to Williamsport for the first time since Roswell won it all in 1956 and was the only team from the state who made it there.
Southwest now goes against the New England winner on Tuesday. Not long after this game ended, it was Peachtree, Ga., also making it to World Series by shutting down the team from South Atlantic, Virginia, 3-0, in the Southeast Regional played at Warner Robbins, Ga., and will open play on Wednesday versus the West winner.
That’s two of eight USA teams in the field, with the rest of the Regional finals to be played Saturday, the same day when the International field is completed.