SWEENY — Looking to extend its stay in the Area 3, 10-12 year old Little League tournament on Thursday, the Sweeny All-stars could not hold off a tough Needville squad falling 8-2.
It was the second loss for Sweeny in the double-elimination tournament after also losing to this same Needville bunch, 13-0 on Tuesday. A victory for Sweeny could have forced a contest to determine the Area 3 champion.
Blanked in its first meeting, Sweeny scored in the top of the first after back to back walks to Lane Cole and Kaden Jammer with Jaxen Schroeder loading the bases after a successful bunt toward third base.
Needville starter Ralph Ortiz had a slow start but quickly came back on Sweeny with those bases filled. Nick Holcomb stepped up to the plate and almost made Ortiz pay off an 0-2 count as he lined a shot down the first base line, which just landed foul. Ortiz struck out Holcomb on the next pitch.
A wild pitch by Ortiz with Landen Fine at the plate scored Cole for the 1-0 lead. Ortiz then proceeded to get back to back strikeouts against Fine and Holt Blessing to leave runners on second and third base.
Needville didn’t tie it until the bottom of the second, getting three hits off Sweeny starter, Kaden Goodrum. The first hit came off a funky bounce off a grounder from Drew McRae to the shortstop. After a walk for Ortiz and with one out, Tom Lomis ripped a single to right field to score McRae. But on the same play the right fielder, Blessing cut down Ortiz at the plate trying to score, leaving the game tied.
Sweeny jumped back in front in the third inning as Schroeder was plunked by Ortiz to start the frame. With one out and Fine at the plate, the Needville catcher tried picking off Schroeder at first base but instead over threw the ball allowing Schroeder to reach third.
With two outs, Needville committed its second error in the inning when Blessing lined a grounder to the shortstop who misplayed the ball, allowing Schroeder to score, 2-1, to take a brief lead.
It didn’t last long as Needville struck right back with three runs in the bottom half off a couple of hits to take a 4-2 advantage. Needville tied it with Ortiz grounding out to second base with the bases loaded, 2-2. But Needville stayed with it with two outs as pinch hitter London House came up with a big hit that bounced off the pitcher and allowed two more runs to come across, 4-2 Needville.
Ortiz exited in the fourth for Needville but left with seven strikeouts while allowing no hits but gave up four walks and a hit batter. Albie Abrea replaced him and was even tougher on Sweeny batters going the next three innings giving up just a hit with five strikeouts.
In the bottom of the fourth, Needville increased its lead to 6-2 when Cedric McClintock connected on a 2-1 pitch off Goodrum and placed it over the center field wall with a runner on base.
Needville added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth off three more hits as the team totaled 11 hits in the victory.
The Needville All-stars will move onto the District 18 Tournament which will start next Thursday in Rosenberg.