WATSONVILLE — Los Diamondbacks captured the 2017 PONY League Championship on Saturday after defeating the Nationals, 8-1, over seven innings at Franich Park’s McElroy Field.
Nationals player Adrian Banuelos scored the Nationals’ only run, giving them a lead in the first inning. But Los Diamondbacks responded with two rallies of their own in the third and fourth, rocketing them to a secure 7-1 lead.
Los Diamondbacks players with standout games on Saturday included Ruben De La Torre, who hit triples in the third and fifth innings and also stole home in the fifth, and 14-year-old Nathaniel Brouse, who notched 17 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings of work on the mound.
Brouse said he was proud of his team and that it “felt good that it was [my] last year in PONY and we won.”
Next season, Brouse says he hopes to pitch at Aptos High because he likes the action that comes with pitching.
Diamondbacks coach Moises Leonor was happy to claim his fourth championship win. He said after the game that he believes coaching is a good way to give back to the community, and that enjoys watching his team develop over the season.
“It was a little bumpy to begin with,” he said, but “by the end of the season everyone really found their spots.”
The Nationals, although defeated in the league championship bracket, maintained a perfect record in the regular season.
Coach Dave Cadelario said some of the team will continue to play at the upcoming Reno Nationals tournament under the banner of the Pajaro Valley Elites.
As Candelario began to rotate players through positions Saturday, he said, “This is a tough pill to swallow today. But our main goal is to develop these boys; that’s why we’re here.”