The Guadalupe Yaquis and Guadalupe Marlins battled it out in the loser’s bracket to try to advance to the championship game of the Men’s Southwest Baseball Tournament, held August 2 to 7 at the Salt River Ballfields. The Marlins were defeated, finishing in third place, and the Yaquis moved on to challenge the Phoenix Firebirds for the title.
The Yaquis started off the game at the plate. Bias Alvarez singled to center field, followed by an RBI triple by Alex Moreno to take the 1-0 lead. Frankie Montiel hit an RBI single to increase their lead 2-0 as they took the field. Dionicio Gonzales was on the hill for the Yaquis and he struck out the first two batters from the Firebirds, forcing a pop fly on the third out.
Guadalupe put two runners on base in the top of the second inning, but left them stranded on a pop fly for the third out by Moreno. In the bottom of the inning the Firebirds stole the lead (3-2) on a two-out rally.
A walk by Gonzales in the top of the third inning put a runner on base with J.T. Alvarez at the plate. He cranked an RBI double to get the Yaquis within one run. The Firebirds increased their lead 5-3 in the bottom of the inning, but the Yaquis came back to take the lead in the fourth inning. Bernie Montiel singled to start the inning and Moreno triple, which increased their lead 6-5.
In the top of the fifth inning, Robert Matus singled to center field and two more singles were added by Bernie Montiel III to score two runs and increase their lead 8-5. The Firebirds answered back with one run, but neither team was able to either diminish the lead or create a gap in the sixth inning.
With one final inning left to play, the Yaquis headed to the plate in the top of the seventh and were able to get on base after Bias Alvarez hit a single into center field and Moreno walked. With the bases loaded, Bernie Montiel hit an RBI double to increase their lead 11-6. Phoenix had one final at-bat to earn five runs.
They opened the inning with a walk and the Firebirds were able to score one run (11-7). Their next batter singled to second base. The seventh batter hit an RBI single to score the final run of the inning, and with runners in scoring position, the Firebirds hit into a double play to end the game in second place.
Yaquis Head Coach Miguel Flores said the team has been around for the past 41 years and they have five generations of talent competing on the team.
“I played for the team for 26 years, six of which I have held the position of head coach,” he said. “Bringing the championship home this year meant keeping our Community strong and hopeful.”
Flores said he would like to thank all the past and present Yaqui team members for giving their future generation the chance to experience the game of baseball.
Three players were recognized for making the all-tournament team: Robert Gonzales, Alex Moreno and Bias Alvarez. Most Valuable Player was awarded to Frankie Montiel.