Brentley Lening took the mound for Southern Plains in the opening game and was throwing a shut out after three innings of play. However, Lening would run out of room in the pitch count rule and the coaching staff from Southern Plains was forced to go to the bullpen. They pulled in Porter Spady, and as it is sometimes, Spady’s pitches were just what East Central seemed to like as they got a number of hits of the right-hander, although he was throwing pretty efficiently. He would give up 7 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks. Carson Noe would replace Spady in the fourth with one out and allowed one more run before getting a ground out and a strikeout to finish the inning. Noe would come back in the fifth inning, but East Central’s bats proved to be way too effective as they got 7 more hits and 5 runs on Noe in the final inning.
Southern Plains was the visitor on the scoreboard and did not score until the fourth inning. Bandy from Limon did a good job keeping the SP batters off balance for three innings striking out five. In the top of the fourth, Andre Salgado started things off with a single with one out. Spady would come through with an RBI single to get Southern Plains on the scoreboard. SP was ahead, 1-0, before East Central came up against Spady and found the strike range rattling off seven runs in the fourth to take a 7-1 lead.
The local All-Stars came back to the plate in the top of the fifth and scored two runs. Adyn Jara started them out with a single. However, Bandy then struck out two SP hitters. Dylan Tamayo then came through with an RBI single to score Jara. Tamayo would then score off a Keaton Marriott single.
Unfortunately, despite using three aces against East Central, the local boys could not hold off the strong offensive performance. East Central would win the game by the 10-run mercy rule after scoring five more runs.
Southern Plains managed five hits against Bandy including a single by Lening, and two singles each by Salgado and Spady.
The loss put Southern Plains up against host Southeast Denver. This was a barnburner of game as it came down to the last at-bat for the local boys from SP. SE Denver were the visitors on the scoreboard so came to the plate first. They faced up against Lening who was back on the bump for Southern Plains. Lening did a good job holding them off in the first allowing only one run. However, by the second inning, the Denver boys started to time up on Lening who would give up four runs. While the SP boys were fighting off the strong bats from Southeast Denver, their bats had not warmed up.
Salgado took the mound in the third inning and gave up only one run for the rest of the game. His solid performance seemed to spark the SP bats, as well, as they would score five runs in the fourth inning getting back into the game, down only by two, 7-5. In that inning, the run series started with Keaton Marriott who singled. Lening and Salgado then walked to load the bases. Noe and Spady had back-to-back doubles that scored four runs. Bo Arnold would then contribute a single that scored teammate Spady.
While Salgado continued to hold off Denver’s bats, the SP All-Stars had one more at-bat in the bottom of the fifth to try to save the game. SP started the way they wanted with Lening drawing a walk. With the tying run at the plate and runners at first and second, there was a strike out for one away. Noe then hit a low screamer right to the pitcher who managed to catch it. This threw the runners off as well, which resulted in a double play to end the game and the season for the 12U All-Stars.
Southern Plains again had five hits in this game with Noe leading the way getting a single and double on the day. Spady contributed a key double, and Marriott and Arnold both chipped in singles. The All-Stars were coached by Sean Lening and Lonnie Spady.
Southeast Denver and East Central played in the state finals with East Central advancing to the Midwest Regional Tournament next weekend.
The 2018 Southern Plains 12U All-Star team members include: (back row) Coach Lonnie Spady, Adyn Jara, Jonathon Reyna, Porter Spady, Dominique Maldonado, Joey Specht, Andre Salgado, Coach Sean Lening (front row) Dylan Tamayo, Bo Arnold, Nick Vazquez, Carson Noe, Brentley Lening, Mason Marriott, Keaton Marriott.