Baytown Little League All-Stars: Playoff action starts heating up
High hopes abound as tournament begins Sunday
So, it begins.
The Baytown Little League’s Major International All-Star club of 11-and 12-year-old boys begins its Texas District 14 playoff journey 6 p.m. Sunday in Texas City when they take on Bayside in an East Zone semifinal game.
With a victory, Baytown advances to the zone bracket final 8 p.m. Monday in Seabrook, and a loss would put them in a championship bracket elimination game at 6 p.m. that same night and location.
Two losses would put Baytown in the consolation bracket while three wins without a loss would propel the team into the championship bracket with a shot at advancing to the regional tournament.
Any loss before the East Zone bracket final would force Baytown to win four games to advance to the championship bracket.
The zone title game is scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday in Texas City and the championship bracket play with begin the following day.
“The boys are ready to play,” Baytown coach Juan Morales said. “They are pumped up. They are willing to compete, and they are ready now after we beat West Owls on Saturday. They know they can go all the way.”
Baytown participated in a warmup tournament last week and defeated West Owls before losing a two-run decision to a strong team from Dickinson.
“Most of the kids played for me on different teams and were excited to come back and play for me,” Morales said. “Their attitude is amazing.”
The boys played a game against their parents last week and Morales said his team’s competitive spirit drove the matchup to see both sides wanting to get one over on the other.
“The parents wanted to beat the kids so bad, I was like ‘Oh my God,’” Morales said. “The parents came out with their gear ready. It was so funny, but both kids and parents were at it, talking trash at each other.”
Morales said that the parents might have won, but they left the contest coming away sore and beaten up.
Morales is well aware of the size discrepancy between his and Bayside’s teams.
“Our team is 11 and 12s and theirs are all 12s and many of them are almost 13 so that makes a difference,” Morales said. “We don’t have many of those 12s on our team. But those little kids can put up a fight.”
His team has a lot of kids who can pitch, and he notes that his defense is top notch.
“I knew what we were going to be facing and most of our roster can pitch and catch,” Morales said. “Against Dickinson, they were playing their butt off. Our kids can play three spots and they were told they would be moved around. Every spot they are put on they give it 110 percent.”
The Baytown all-stars are working on hitting the fastball better and Morales threw some at the batters and observed their progression in that area is coming.
Morales said that the merging of Baytown American and National has also paid great dividends for the all-star team now representing the entirety of the city.
“Before we merged, we were struggling at National big time,” Morales, who coached on the National side, said. “The American side had all the stronger kids. It shocked me when (the merger) happened, because we became really strong. We have the best pitchers out there and our batting average increased.”
Morales said the hopes of a team advancing to the championship bracket were increased exponentially from just hoping to win a game before calling it a weekend.
“I can see now the boys are like ‘We are together, let’s do something,’” Morales said. “It’s going to be exciting. I love it, parents love it and I am ready to go.
“We have seen in the pre-tournaments how competitive we are.”
The Baytown Little League Major All-Star team is composed of, Juan Morales Jr., Santiago Ortiz, Genaro Silva, Kaleb Carmona, Noah Wiley, Kolten Dodson, Jordan McCullough, Logan Herrera, Julian Vargas, Israel Herrera, Bryce Cooper, Caden Deakle and Dylan Starr.