FARMINGTON — The Dallas Mustangs got off to a great start in the Connie Mack World Series, knocking off Escuela de los Deportes de Carolina 9-1 Saturday night at Ricketts Park.
Mustangs coach Sam Carpenter said a strong start is key in the tournament, and that's why he sent Cole Hearrean to the mound.
"He's an experienced guy, he's calm and he gave us an edge," Carpenter said of Hearrean. "The first game in the tournament for any team, all bets are off. Everybody's nervous, and nobody knows what's going to happen. That's why we wanted a competitor on the mound tonight."
While Hearrean provided a calming presence for the Mustangs, EDC — playing out of Carolina, Puerto Rico — got off to a rough start.
In the top of the first, Dallas' Peyton Grassanovitis reached first on an error and advanced to third when EDC pitcher Eduardo Guerrero's pick-off attempt was off its mark.
After Steele Walker drew a walk, Grassanovitis touched home on a wild pitch for the first run of the game. Walker also scored during the same at-bat when Brenden Venter ripped a line drive to the corner in left field for the RBI, putting the Mustangs up 2-0 with no outs in the inning.
"Most of our guys, this is their first trip to the world series," EDC head coach Edwin Cuadrado said. "I think in the first inning they were very anxious. Every team in this tournament is a championship caliber team, and if you don't catch the ball, commit errors, you pay (for it)."
The Mustangs added one more run in the top of the first with an RBI from Jake Baker.
The Dallas team kept things going in the second. Venter came through with another RBI double to push the lead to 4-0, and in the next at-bat, Nic Motley hit a sacrifice fly to deep center to bring in Walker, making it 5-0.
Carpenter credited the top half of his lineup for setting the tone offensively, saying the guys have been with the program for a few years and have experience playing in high-pressure situations.
The Mustangs (38-12-1) kept rolling in the top of the fourth, sparked by Walker's RBI triple in the second at-bat of the inning. Dallas went on to score three more runs in the inning to blow the game open with a 9-0 advantage.
Entering the bottom of the fifth, EDC (21-6) put together a couple of hits.
Rodney Figuroa and Gabriel Vazquez recorded back-to-back singles to put two on with no outs. After a fielder's choice, Figuroa reached third and then scored on an Isander Benitez RBI to put EDC on the board.
But the rally ended there, with Dallas' Carter Camp coming in to record the final out and give the Mustangs the 9-1 win.
With the win, Dallas will play the Midland Redskins (41-3) at noon Monday at Ricketts Park. Carpenter said he plans to give his team time off to rest and have fun with their host families before the game.
EDC will be back in action at 5:15 p.m. today, meeting Youth Service League (34-16-1) in an elimination game at Ricketts Park.
Cuadrado said his team will go into that game just like any other.
"It's the same message as it's been the entire season, play defense, throw strikes, try to score some runs and keep the game close," he said. "Our team is very fast, but if you don't take first base you don't score runs."
Leading hitter: Brenden Venter, 2 2B, 1B, 2 RBIs
WP: Cole Hearrean
SV: Carter Camp
Escuela de los Deportes de Carolina
Leading hitter: Rodney Figuroa, 2 1B
LP: Paul Rivera