By Scott Zeidman
Westside Baseball's Westchester Babe Ruth completed a dream all-star season with an 8-0 shutout of the Pacific Northwest Regional Champion, Oregon, in the finals of the Babe Ruth 14U World Series on Saturday in Moses Lake, Washington.
Riding a 10-game winning streak and having won each of its World Series games by four or more runs, Westchester entered the championship game on a high note and was heavily favored to earn its first world title. The championship game was a rematch as Westchester had defeated Oregon 8-1 in the tournament's opening game.
Westchester turned to Saul Martinez to start arguably the most iportant game in Westchester's 57-year history. Martinez beat New Hampshire 11-7 on Sunday, and came into the championship game well rested. It showed. Martinez had all of his pitches working and was able to paint the corners virtually at will. Martinez didn't allow an Oregon base runner until the third inning and didn't give up a hit until Oregon catcher Casey McGough singled up the middle with one out in the fourth. McGough was caught stealing two pitches later.
Oregon got a runner to second with two outs in the fifth but Martinez but struck out Oregon left fielder Sean Davidson to end the mini threat. Oregon didn't get a runner past first base in the remainder of the game. Martinez allowed just three singles and one walk, throwing just 72 pitches. in the seven inning shutout.
Martinez was aided by excellent defense, especially by third baseman Aaron Greenfield who successfully threw out six Oregon hitters, often on spectacular plays.
Left fielder Dailin Lee praised Martinez, "When i heard that Saul was pitching, i knew we were going to win. I knew that Saul was up to the task. He kept pounding the strike zone, and the Oregon players couldn't catch up with his heat. They were obviously overmatched."
Offensively, Westchester initially had a tough time with Oregon's soft throwing southpaw starting pitcher Brandon Gordon. Gordon retired the first eleven Westchester batters before Greenfield singled to center. Greenfield promptly scored on a Nolan Martinez single to center, and Westchester took a 1-0 lead to the fifth inning. As it turns out, with Martinez dealing, one run was all that Westchester would need.
Westchester broke the game open in the fifth as Derek Marshall singled and scored two outs later on a Dailin Lee line single to center. After Justin Morris singled and Kelvin Murillo walked, Greenfield doubled to left knocking in both and putting Westchester comfortably ahead 4-0 after five innings.
Westchester wasn't done scoring, sending eight batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth. After Marshall singled and Eli Saucedo walked, consecutive singles by Jonathan Phelps, Lee, Morris and Murillo resulted in four more Westchester runs for the final 8-0 margin.
Saul Martinez retired six of the last seven Oregon batters to complete the masterpiece.
Nolan Martinez, the Pacific Southwest Regional Most Valuable player was named the World Series MVP and also to the all tournament team. Teammates Marshall, Murillo and Greenfield were also honored as members of the all tournament team. Saul Martinez was named to the all defensive team.
Nolan Martinez, who also was a member of the Major League Baseball RBI World Series championship, spoke of his recent accomplishments, "it's been quite a summer, truly amazing, once in a lifetime. In Little League, I dreamed of playing in a World Series. This summer, I played I two World Series'. Like I said, it's been amazing."
Remarkably, Justin Morris, who was named to the all tournament team in the regionals, and who arguably had the best all around tournament in the World Series, was left out of the awards. Morris hit .409, scored eleven runs and drove in eleven in the six game series, Westchester right fielder Kane Kutlerwas astonished about Morris' exclusion, "that is messed up, it's 100% wrong. Morris was an beast. We couldn't have won this without Jo Mo. He could have been MVP."
Jason Zeidman, a two-time World Series participant who finished the Washington game, expressed his excitement about the world championship. "It was amazing. Getting to the World Series is hard enough. Ten of the best teams in the country were here, and we beat them all. It was unreal."
Westchester was managed by Hector Zamora with Chris Lynch and Josh Fernandez coaching. This is the same staff that took Westchester to its first World Series in 2008.
Kaelin Woodard, the winning pitcher in the Washington game, spoke of playing for Zamora, "I think that I lost 20 pounds playing for Hector. He's insane, but i mean that in a nice way. He made me a better pitcher, helped me with my control and increased my velocity. It was hard work, but it was certainly well worth it."
The 25 members of the World Championship team are Brandon Brown, Aaron Greenfield, Dominic Johnson, Kain Kutler, Dailin Lee, Derek Marshall, Nolan Martinez, Saul Martinez, Justin Morris, Kelvin Murillo, Jonathan Phelps, Eli Saucedo, Dylan Sledge, Kaelin Woodard and Jason Zeidman.