FARMINGTON — The Southern California Renegades weren’t at their best, but they were still good enough to fight off Puerto Rico’s MFP Arecibo and remain alive in the Connie Mack World Series.
The Renegades, out of Huntington Beach, Calif., rallied from a 3-1 deficit to edge MFP Arecibo 5-3 in Game 8 today at Ricketts Park.
"I’m proud of the way we came back, but disappointed that we had a few chances to score and didn’t make it happen. As we get further in the tournament, we’re not going to get second chances," said Renegades coach Si Pettrow.
Southern California suffered a blow to its lineup in the first inning. In the bottom of the inning, two-hole hitter and right fielder Jordan Martini fouled a pitch off his foot and had to leave the game. Jonny Cuevas replaced Martini and proved to be more than adequate, coming through in the bottom of the sixth by driving in two runs on a fielder’s choice that gave the Renegades a 5-3 lead.
"Jonny came in, a 15-year-old, and pretty much gets the game-winning hit and played great for us," Pettrow said.
As they did in Arecibo’s first game, errors took a toll on the Puerto Rico team. In the second inning, SoCal’s Tommy Delgado laid down a bunt to advance a runner. But Arecibo’s catcher Hank De Jesus sent his throw to first into right field. Right fielder Adrian Martinez bobbled the ball as he tried to pick it up, allowing SoCal’s Sheldon Borson to score from first and Delgado to reach third.
Arecibo took the lead in the top of the fourth. With runners on first and second with no outs, Adbiel Morales doubled to deep right field. The hit alone was enough for Carlos Viera to score from second, but SoCal’s Cuevas mishandled the ball in right field, allowing Estephen Soto to score from first.
Morales came in to score on a wild pitch later in the inning, giving Arecibo a 3-1 lead.
SoCal cut into Arecibo’s lead in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Blake Sabol hit a hard grounder to second, but the throw to first for the out was off target, allowing one run to score and make it 3-2.
Arecibo couldn’t find the strike zone in the sixth inning, walking five consecutive batters. The fifth walk came with the bases loaded and tied the game at 3-3. In the next at-bat, Cuevas grounded to second, but Arecibo couldn’t turn the double play, and the Renegades scored two runs and took a 5-3 lead heading to the seventh inning.
“I don’t know happened. You cannot win a game with four errors and all the walks,” Arecibo’s coach Jose Viera said.
SoCal had chances to pile on runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but left the bases loaded in the fifth and runners on second and third in the sixth.
"We get guys on all the time, we just don’t get them in," Pettrow said. "It’s been that way for us all year. We’ve been able to win on pitching and defense, but when you get in a tournament like this you have to score."
The loss ends Arecibo’s season, but Viera said the experience of this year’s world series showed his team what they’ll need to do to return next year.
"This is a great tournament. We had a great time, and now we have to get ready for next year," he said. "I know we can do better."
The Renegades will move on to face the Colton Nighthawks in Game 13 at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Ricketts Park.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.
Leading hitters: Jonny Cuevas, 1 for 4, 2 RBIs
WP: Dylan Riddle
Leading hitter: Adbiel Morales, 2 for 3, RBI, R
LP: Manuel Martinez