After a long summer of baseball and a bunch of travel to make it happen, some teams reach their last events in July carting along some beat-up uniforms and a bit of fatigue.
But the sight of the diamond is a stone-cold inspiration for the ABQ Guns 13u team, which wrapped up a 3-0 trip through pool play Thursday at the Triple Crown World Series in Steamboat Springs. Taking on the Orlando Reds, another team that stood 2-0 after two games, the Guns ran wild at Adams Field and posted a 16-7 victory to secure what should be a top-four seed when the brackets are announced later Thursday.
The Guns jumped ahead 5-0 after one inning and really never looked back, although a cluster of five walks and assorted errors and balks opened the door for the Reds to ring up six runs in the fourth inning. But by then, the New Mexico squad already had plated 14 runs and even tacked on two more in the fourth.
“These kids are amazing. We’re finishing off the season here, and they are working hard and playing as a team. That’s all we’ve asked them to do, and it’s coming together,” said ABQ Guns coach Nate Pollock. “They were excited, playing a team from Florida, and they knew it would be tough. But they were ready. We have been on fire with the bats – they’ve been practicing hard. It’s been going good, and I hope that will continue throughout the rest of the tournament.”
David Cooper led off the game with a double for the Guns, and with the bases loaded Jordan Martinez drove in two runs with a single. A bit later, with the bases loaded again, Aiden Pollock dumped a single to score two, with one more coming across when the Reds cut off the throw from the outfield and took a little too much time catching Pollock in a rundown.
“We’re doing pretty good right now – we’re all working as a team,” Aiden said. “It felt good hitting and getting those three runs in. We felt that we can compete with anyone out here.”
The Guns sent 11 batters to the plate in the third inning, starting with four straight hits and continuing with two walks and a hit batter. Jordan Rodriguez had a sacrifice fly, Moises Abeyta and Daniel Gutierrez each had run-scoring singles, and Martinez drove in another run with a double.
“Our bats were hot today, and the defense was hot, too. We kept hitting the ball very well,” Martinez said. “We kept them out of our head and hit the ball. We’re pretty confident because we won our pool and got the three (wins).”
Cooper scored three runs and reached base in all four of his at-bats; Abeyta drove in two runs.
For the Reds, Cam Anstey singled, stole two bases and scored in the third inning, while Brady Henderson reached base twice and drove in a run.