News from Around Banderas Bay | November 2009
|Pre-Season Little League All-Star Tournament Held in Puerto Vallarta|
Bob Cohen - PVNN
November 18, 2009
|The 11-12 year old Guadalajara All Star team in red and the Puerto Vallarta team in green line up for the opening game of the three day tournament. The players announced the international Little League creed prior to the start.|
The Puerto Vallarta Little League kicked off its second season this past weekend as all star teams traveled from Guadalajara, Arandas and Bahia de Banderas, Nayarit to join the Puerto Vallarta all-star team to compete in a four team "friendly tournament".
|For donations, sponsorships and further information we urge you to contact:|
• Bob Cohen at bob(at)banderasnews.com
• Miguel Vargas at tacos.park(at)hotmail.com
Hosting the three day tournament was quite a task for Little League President Miguel Vargas. As the hosts, Puerto Vallarta was responsible for feeding the kids each day and with the help of some parents, it lightened the load. Also, hotel accommodations had to be made at discounted prices for the players and families. Some kids were able to stay with some local player's families.
Friday at 2 PM was the start of the event and of course it began with a mass feeding of the kids on the field. A mariachi band was brought in for the opening festivities and did a tremendous job. The environment on the field and in the stadium stands was electric. The PV Little League had never before played in front of such a large crowd and other than an All Star team going to Guadalajara last year for the post season, it was the first out of town competition for the youngsters.
Buses rolled in to the stadium carrying the Guadalajara team and family and another luxury bus followed shortly with the Arandas group. These kids and communities support their teams and we are gaining support locally as the Puerto Vallarta team enters its second season.
The Guadalajara Little League program has been active for at least 15 years if not more and the Arandas Little League has had many years of experience. Some of the kids from Nayarit had experience and was also new to many. The Puerto Vallarta league played their first season in 15 years last year in a continuously interrupted season due to the closure of the stadium due to an international fireworks symposium, the Semana Santa two week break and the H1N1 flu scare. The season went well into August during summer vacation before champions were crowned.
|It's time to play ball as the umpire meets with the Guadalajara manager on the left in red and PV manager and President of the Little League go over last minute instructions.|
There were two age groups represented. All four teams had 15 player 11-12 year olds competing in a round robin format, with each tam playing each other. The team with the best record would be crowned the champion. The 16-18 year old division had only the Puerto Vallarta and Arandas teams, so the two played each other three times.
The first game began at 3:30 PM Friday and was the 11-12 year olds from Guadalajara facing the Puerto Vallarta team. Guadalajara was clearly the more experienced and talented team but our local kids made some tremendous defensive plays and trailed only 2-1 after 5 innings, heading to the 6th and final inning. Guadalajara took advantage of the PV third string pitcher and scored 10 runs in the 6th and held Vallarta for a 12-1 victory. The game was close and another lesson was learned. We need to have more training and depth in our pitching staff.
Following the game Arandas and Nayarit took the field and Arandas jumped all over the pitching staff with a potent offense. Nayarit answered with some scoring themselves, but Arandas claimed victory 19-7 after the 4th inning via the "mercy rule". The mercy rule states that if a team is ahead by more than 10 runs after the 3rd inning and the team behind cannot get close the lead to less than 10 in the following inning, the game is over. The rule is good for the kids, as no 11 or 12 year old wants to be embarrassed by a huge score. Nobody at any age likes to be embarrassed in losing as well.
The lights, already on were on for the final game of the first day of the weekend as the 16-18 year olds from Puerto Vallarta and Arandas faced each other for the first of three times. The PV bats and pitching staff did a tremendous job and won the opener 12-6. The long day ended at about 10 PM and winners and losers alike were happy for the fun and competition.
|A maraiachi band added to the pregame ceremonies that included a big lunch prior to Friday's openiong game.|
Saturday morning's first game at 10 AM came quickly after the late finish the night before. Again, the 11-12 year olds played first, followed by the older kids. Guadalajara and Arandas, a long term rivalry played in the opener and Arandas led 3-2 after five innings in a game that had superb pitching and defense. In the 6th, Guadalajara erupted for 3 runs and held Arandas scoreless to win the thriller 5-3.
Puerto Vallarta and Nayarit was the second game on the schedule and Nayarit jumped on the PV pitching staff for a five run 1st inning but Vallarta answered with three runs of their own in the home half of the 1st. The game provided scoring; some mistakes by the less experienced kids, but played an exciting game. Puerto Vallarta came from behind to win a tight game 10-9.
The older kids went at it again in Saturday's finale and with timely hitting and strong defense, the PV 16-18 year old squad won a thrilling game 8-7 and gave them a 2-0 lead over Arandas with only Sunday's game to play.
Sunday's play began again at 10 AM and the powerful unbeaten Guadalajara squad faced winless Nayarit and the game lasted just three innings as Guadalajara won via the mercy rule 15-0 after 3 innings of play. Guadalajara, who was the favorite before the tournament began, clinched the title, finishing 3-0, as Nayarit finished 0-3.
|This 12 year old was just to cute to leave out of a photo and the big surprise was that she is quite the ball player.|
The two 1-1 teams faced each other with second place going to the winner and third place to the loser. Puerto Vallarta saved their best pitcher for the final day and he held Arandas in check for 4+ innings as PV led 5-1, but Arandas came back to tie the game 5-5 with the 6th inning to play. The final inning was thrilling and Arandas scored to lead 6-5, but PV tied the game 6-6 and they went to extra innings. The 7th inning was scoreless as tension and excitement mounted and the two teams didn't score in the 8th inning as well. Arandas scored once in the top of the 9th to take a 7-6 lead, but Puerto Vallarta loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half of the inning.
This is as close and thrilling as a game can get and Arandas made a good defensive play on the last play of the game to save the 7-6 victory. League President and Coach Miguel Vargas exclaimed at game end, "this was the most exciting game I have been involved in for a long time and I can only say that I am so proud of our kids". This game by far was the most thrilling of all games and had players, coaches, families and fans on the edge of their seats.
The final game of the weekend tournament had Puerto Vallarta and Arandas facing each other for the third time and Arandas utilized superb pitching to defeat PV 5-0. Puerto Vallarta won two of the three games between the two and Arandas won the last game with a dominating performance.
The regular local season will begin on Saturday, December 5th with traditional opening day ceremonies. The Puerto Vallarta Little League can use the support of locals, seasonal visitors and tourists. League sponsors, team sponsors, financial donors are needed, as well as those that can donate equipment and those with baseball experience that can spend some time coaching and training the kids. For those that want to help, please contact me at bob(at)banderasnews.com or a1abob(at)yaoo.com. Season two promises to be a good one, especially after a fantastic kickoff weekend of play.
Your support provides endless benefits for Banderas Bay area kids, who will develop the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being by participating in Puerto Vallarta Little League Baseball. To learn how you can help, send an email to Bob Cohen at bob(at)banderasnews.com or Miguel Vargas at tacos.park(at)hotmail.com. For more information about Puerto Vallarta Little League Baseball, click HERE.