Heartbreak strikes Breck Juniors
The historic Breckenridge Junior All-Stars quest for another championship banner and a trip to the Southwest Regional Tournament came to an end Tuesday afternoon at the hands of Corpus Christi Padre following a 18-8 loss.
Having already lost one game in the Texas West Tournament, the Breckenridge All-Stars fought their way back to the state championship game.
Breckenridge topped San Antonio 5 Diamonds 13-1 Monday evening and set up a rematch against Padre, who sent them to the loser's bracket after a 11-4 loss on Sunday.
Knowing what was at stake, the Juniors came through in the first of what would end up being back-to-back games, 4-2.
Breckenridge’s defense and pitching effort stood out the most as D'Andrey Silva pitched a complete game for Breckenridge.
Silva also helped the effort at the plate as he blasted a solo home-run in the fifth inning.
Tied at 1-1, the solo blast by Silva put Breckenridge on top 2-1 with two innings remaining.
Padre tied the score 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
Three straight hits by Gerardo Palacios, Owen Woodward and Jake Escalon helped lead to two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for Breckenrdige.
Palacios led the inning off with a single, followed by a double by Woodward.
Escalon then hit a two-run RBI single, scoring Palacios and Woodward.
Breckenridge held its ground in the top of the seventh inning and were able to record the final three outs needed for the win.
The 4-2 loss for Padre was their first of the tournament, which ultimately set up a winner take all championship game 30 minutes after the first game concluded.
Breckenridge scored its four runs off of seven hits and had no errors, while Padre scored their two runs off of seven hits and had two errors.
Breckenridge was led by Escalon, who was two-for-three with three RBIs.
Woodward was two-for-three as well with a double and a triple. Silva was one-for-two with a solo home-run.
Silva pitched a complete seven innings. During the seven innings, he allowed seven hits, two runs (none earned) and had three strikeouts.
The Junior All-Stars were on track to what could have been the first state championship by any team in the Big Country since Abilene won consecutive Big League titles in 1994 and 1995.
Abilene Southwest also won the Senior league state title in 1994.
Breckenridge picked up from where they left off in the first game with a 3-0 lead through 1½ innings of play.
A solo home-run by Padre cut the deficit to 3-1.
Breckenridge scored two more times in the third on a sacrifice fly and a passed ball to take a four-run lead at 5-1.
Padre answered with three runs in the third and scored once in the fourth, however, to tie the game at 5-5.
The Breckenridge Juniors loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the fifth inning, but those base runners were left stranded as the middle of the line up went down in order after three straight strikeouts.
With a boost of momentum on their side, Padre added three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and took a 8-5 lead.
That lead would not last long as Breckenridge rallied to tie the score at 8-8 following a bases-clearing double by Escalon.
Padre added 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and claimed the win due to the 10-run mercy rule.
“I just think we ran out of gas,” Breckenridge coach Pat Escalon said. “I think our team was tired. We don’t play just Little League. We play about 40 games of travel ball too.”
Escalon said with the pressure on to win the first game, he thought it led to physical demands on the players.
“I think the first game took a lot out of us,” he said. “It was a high pressure game. They battled and that’s all you can ask. We just ran out of gas there at the end. Our pitching let us down there at the end and we had some mistakes as well. You can’t make mistakes against a good team.”
Breckenridge scored its eight runs on seven hits and had three errors.
Escalon went three-for-three with three RBIs and two doubles to lead Breckenridge.
He also pitched 2¹/³ innings and allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on five hits and had seven walks.
Breckenridge finished its Little League season with a record of 23-2