PONY BTBA Allstars, from left, Miguel Savalza, Clifford Gammel and Evan Holguin celebrate the team’s 8-5 win Saturday against Deer Park in the South Zone Coast Region-Houston sectional tournament at Jenkins Park in Baytown. 

PONY squad closes in on title game 

Defense, timely hitting and leaving a blazing trail on the basepaths has the PONY BTBA Allstars closing in on a tournament title in its own backyard.

Jenkins Park was the scene for the Baytown-area club Saturday at the South Zone Coast Region-Houston sectional tournament as it beat Deer Park 8-5 in the opener and led Pasadena, 11-1 in the fifth inning before a second rain and lightning delay postponed action until 10 a.m. today.

If it can finish off the game with a win, Baytown will advance to the 12 p.m. championship game as the field’s only unbeaten team. If neccessary, a deciding game would be played 7 p.m. Monday to determine the tournament winner.

“The bats, the baserunning, it was a team effort,” Baytown manager John Ward said.“Some kids were off, but others picked them up. We had a couple of errors, but we bounced back.

“Our defense really pulled us out of it.”

In the win against Deer Park, Baytown jumped out to a 4-1 lead with RBI hits by Clifford Gammel and teammate John Ward and other baseknocks by Miguel Lopez and Evan Holguin. Tack on  a few errors and two hit-by-pitches for the Deer Park hurlers and Baytown was up and running.

Things slowed down a bit  until the top of sixth when the Baytown squad added a run thanks to its baserunners terrorizing Deer Park into multiple errors to move out to a 5-2 lead.

“We try to play small ball and running bases,” manager Ward said. “We want to keep them running. As long as our baserunners are moving, we keep the other team on edge.”

However, Deer Park tied the game with three runs in the sixth inning and that was where Baytown showed its mettle.

Scoring three runs in the top of the seventh as Holguin and Thomas Pantoja came up with RBI hits.

“We got back on our game plan and finished it,” Ward said.“It was solid. Our energy was higher in the seventh than in the first. Deer Park played it til the end and we had to stay focused and minimize mistakes.”

Deer Park looked to threaten in the bottom of the seventh inning, but a strikeout from the pitcher Gammel preceded another Deer Park baserunning faux pas as the lead runner was tagged out at second base while leaning the wrong way and Baytown was advancing to the final.

Crosby was eliminated in two games, falling 11-5 to Pasadena on Friday and then 15-2 to Kyle Chapman Saturday morning.

“We didn’t play well at all,” Crosby manager Robby Smith said. “We didn’t hit, we didn’t play defense and the kids wasn’t pumped up. We are a much better team than what we showed. I really don’t know why because they are a lot better bunch than what they showed.”

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