Deer Park 7U Pinto all-stars nab World Series title

Never underestimate the meat of a baseball team’s batting order and what it can do to stir uprisings and bring home key victories.

That’s even true for a roster full of 7-year-olds.

Led by three-hole hitter Drew Sauceda driving in four RBIs over his last two at-bats, the Deer Park 7U Pinto all-stars captured the Pinto World Series with a tense 11-6 win in seven innings over the Gregory-Portland all- stars at the Spencerview Athletic Complex Sunday afternoon.

Deadlocked at 6-6 entering the seventh inning after Gregory-Portland forced the extra frame by scoring two runs in its final at-bat, Deer Park nearly batted around in scoring five tie-breaking runs.

All the championship-creating damage arrived after one out. And once manager Chris Martin’s crew got to the top of its batting order, those boys did the rest. Ignoring the hot temperatures, Deer Park was simply crushing the ball in the seventh.

Sauceda’s second consecutive double plated two and clean-up hitter Gray Kellam knocked in his second RBI of the day with a shot to right field. Two of the runs in that inning were also due to Gregory-Portland defensive hiccups.

An obstruction call during Gregory-Portland’s fifth inning at-bat led to a long stoppage of the contest. At first, it seemed like it hurt Deer Park because the guys went quietly in the top of the sixth, before Gregory-Portland scored its two tying runs in its half of the sixth.

“We got down a bit. We had a long break but after that the boys just didn’t stop. They keep hitting, just keep hitting. I thought to myself, we’re going to do it. We’re really at the back of our lineup and then we got to the front and finished it off. It’s super exciting,” Martin said.

Although Deer Park never trailed, a 2-2 tie entering the fifth inning meant it was time for some heroes. Leadoff batter Hudson Martin reached on a bloop single, before Konner Vidock, the two-hole batter, singled, snapping the tie.

Sauceda followed with a 100 mph shot over the third-base bag, easily driving in his first two teammates.

Speaking of Martin, he and Gregory-Portland shortstop Ryan Pfluger battled each other to see who would be called the best defensive player of the game. Martin recorded at least one out in every inning. Rightfully so, the game ended with a ground ball to Martin.

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