Baytown advances in Pony tourney

The Pony BTBA Allstar team celebrates Saturday after its 17-10 win over Pasadena at the South Zone Coast – Houston sectional at Bay Area Park and later would capture a spot in the South Zone Coast tournament – one step from the World Series – with a win over La Porte Sunday. Font row, from left, John Ward, Evan Holguin, Ashton Butler, Braedon Butler, Miguel Savalza and Reid Butler; Back row, from left, assistant manager Keith Butler, Andrew Estrada, Miguel Lopez, Samuel Ibarra, Isaias Cuevas, Thomas Pantoja, Cliff Gammel, Gabrian Valenica, Jesus Ballesteros and manager John Ward, Not pictured assistant manager Noe Molina.

The Pony BTBA allstar team is in the zone.

The South Zone Coast tournament to be exact after recording two wins to move into the top three spots of the Houston regional over the weekend at Bay Area Park.

Their journey ended with a late, 12-8 loss to League City, but not before Baytown punched its ticket to the next step of the Pony postseason.

Earlier Baytown defeated Pasadena 17-10 on Saturday and then La Porte 13-6 earlier Sunday in back-to-back games while facing elimination and moved into the losers bracket final against League City cementing its ticket to Youngsville, Louisiana on July 31 – Aug. 4. 

That event will determine who from this region heads to the World Series in Washington, Pennsylvania a week later.

Against League City, BTBA led 6-3 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning before the eventual winners scored three runs to tie the game and ultimately broke the game open with six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Clifford Gammel had a team-high three of the Baytown squad’s 13 hits.

Baytown issued 10 walks from the mound, contributing to the defeat.

The win Sunday against La Porte came after Baytown lost to them 8-7 on Friday to open the tournament.

“The day started early and with a goal in mind,” Baytown manager John Ward said. “Our team showed up focused and determined. They smiled throughout (with La Porte) and battled to the end with a positive attitude. We got back to playing our game and minimized errors. The few we had was shrugged off and forgot as soon as it happened.”

Baytown broke open the win in the rematch with a five-run fourth inning and after committing five errors in the first contest did not commit a single defensive miscue to aid the victory.

Thomas Pantoja and Isaias Cuevas each had three hits with the latter driving in a team-high three runs.

Miguel Savalza pitched 3.1 innings in relief allowing just one hit and striking out five to lock down the win.

In beating Pasadena Saturday afternoon, the BTBA squad overcame 7-1 and 10-4 deficits before unleashing a rally with 11 runs in its half of the fifth inning to take control.

“Our team stayed focused and positive as well as our parents,” Ward said. “We had some ups and downs early but battled through it. I am very proud of our team and parents for keeping the energy alive and knowing it isn’t how the game is started but how it is ended that counts most.”

Now it’s on to the next challenge for BTBA.

“We have work to do to get ready for zone, but the team is eager to get to it,” Ward said. “I can’t say enough about the faith in God and high spirits this team has every day regardless of sports or anything. We look forward to representing Baytown and competing in zone for a chance at the World Series.”

BTBA President Laura Wamble looks forward to the next step in the postseason while celebrating her team today.

“I was so happy to see team win on Sunday to secure a slot for Youngsville,” Wamble said. “They have worked so hard each and every day.  As president of league I am so impressed with these kids each and every game they play.  Yes, of course team has its ups and downs but that’s just baseball. All in all they have proven to have heart for the game and are learning how to get better in it.”

To provide sponsorship for the BTBA PONY squad for its trip to the zone tournament in Louisiana contact Wamble at 713-557-9342 or email

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