From Ripken Baseball:
In a rematch from the 2014 Cal Ripken World Series World Championship game, reigning World Champion Southeast (West Raleigh, NC) squared off against International Champion Mexico at Cal, Sr.’s Yard.
“We’ve talked about this week since the kids were nine years old,” said Southeast manager Rick Pate. “We made it a priority as a team to come here and compete.”
Toeing the rubber for Southeast, Garrett Moffett quickly found himself in a jam, surrendering five runs early on. Mexico came out swinging, rallying off the bats of Roque Salinas and Vidal Sotela, who sent a three-run homer over center field. In hopes of preventing further damage, Southeast brought Zach Hurand to the mound, who struck out Carlo Rios to retire the side.
Southeast’s Sam Perez shot an RBI single to right field against the International Division’s Most Outstanding Player Roque Salinas to get Southeast on the board. Lifting Mexico out of a jam, Salinas struck out two to end the inning. Following suit to Salinas, Southeast’s Hurand resumed on the mound, striking out Jorge Ramos and forcing two groundouts.
After holding both teams scoreless in the second inning, Sotela singled up the middle, only to be picked off stealing second by Southeast’s Timothy Pate. With two on, Southeast’s Perez recorded his second RBI single to tack on another run, as Southeast trailed 5-2.
Hurand’s performance on the mound silenced Mexico’s bats, allowing no additional runs off five strikeouts since taking over in the first. Despite walking his first batter all game and surrendering a double, Hurand struck out Mexico’s Hector Mora to keep Southeast’s hopes alive.
With their backs to the wall and a World Championship on the line, Blake McCain recorded the team’s third hit. In the process of Perez striking out, McCain safely took off to second and narrowly reached third with Xander Lietz at plate. After battling Salinas at the plate, Lietz RBI singled to right field, bringing home McCain to slowly tack away at Mexico’s lead. With one out left, Mexico responded with a crucial line-up switch that sent Salinas to right field and brought Joel Ibarra in relief. Ibarra would secure Mexico as World Champions with a final pop up fly to left field – their fifth World Championship since the international tournament came to Aberdeen in 2003.
“This was a big stage for these kids,” said Rick Pate. “We came out off a big win last night and then come out again in front of several thousand fans. That’s a big stage for us. From getting off the plan and going to Under Armour to playing in the World Series Championship, it’s all been amazing.”