Winners of its last four games, the White Sox’s rather
improbable run through the San Benito Babe Ruth playoffs included a
13-3 victory over the Cardinals, an 8-5 triumph over the A’s, and
finally culminated with a comfortable 9-4 win against the Rockies
in Saturday’s championship at Veterans Memorial Park in
With a 3-7 regular season record, few could foresee the White Sox ever reaching the San Benito Babe Ruth championship game, let alone winning it.
It had a four-game losing streak at one point during the year and had earned the league’s No. 4 seed heading into the postseason. To make matters even more bleak, any trip to the finals for the White Sox would go through the top-seeded and four-time defending champion A’s.
“It was a tough season,” White Sox manager Ron Fhurong said. “But the kids bought into the system.
“Once the kids finally bought into it, I knew we were gonna go on a run.”
And the White Sox couldn’t have picked a better time.
Winners of its last four games, the White Sox’s rather improbable run through the San Benito Babe Ruth playoffs included a 13-3 victory over the Cardinals, an 8-5 triumph over the A’s, and finally culminated with a comfortable 9-4 win against the Rockies in Saturday’s championship at Veterans Memorial Park in Hollister.
With title in hand, the White Sox complete the season with a 6-7 overall record.
“But that team deserved it,” Rockies manager Angel Rueda said. “They wanted it and they went out and took it; great team, a really great team.
“But we had a great season, a great run, and we came up a little short in the end.”
The No. 3 Rockies, which downed the Giants 18-2 and the second-seeded Tigers 7-5, couldn’t stop the buzzsaw that was the White Sox, which were coming off a surprising upset of the A’s.
“The momentum carried over from last game and we just kept hitting the ball,” Fhurong said.
The momentum, in fact, allowed the White Sox to jump out to a 7-0 lead through just an inning and a half of play on Saturday against the Rockies.
“That was the difference,” Rueda said. “They came out hitting.”
With one out in the first Dalan Hoskins started the rally with a double, while Kevin Salvas pushed him over after being hit by a pitch. With two on, the White Sox then jumped on the Rockies when Nick Salgado, Steven Rodriguez, Tyler Fhurong and Jacob Cabral all connected with RBI singles, providing the Sox with an early 4-0 cushion.
“We had a few key errors in the first inning, but in order to make errors, they’ve got to hit the ball,” Rueda said. “And that’s what they did.”
The White Sox began from the top of the order in the second inning as well, and after Chris Schlegel and Hoskins singled on, Salvas and Salgado knocked them both in with run-scoring singles.
“That let the kids know and it built their confidence that, yes, we can win a championship,” Fhurong said.
Things were clearly going the White Sox’s way when later in that same inning, with the bases loaded, the White Sox attempted a suicide squeeze. The attempt actually failed, but Salvas managed to steal home, nonetheless, and upped the White Sox’s lead to seven runs.
“They came out a little more hungrier than we did,” Rueda said.
The Rockies, meanwhile, were fooled early on by the breaking ball of White Sox starter Jacob Cabral. But with a two-out rally in the second, the Rockies plated three runs behind back-to-back RBI doubles from Israel Lovato and Tanner Carrillo-Zazueta, as well as an RBI single from Adrian Medina to make it a 7-3 game.
The momentum clearly shifted in the Rockies’ favor in the third inning when it added another run on an RBI single by Ray Rueda, scoring Marco Cosio, and bringing the Rockies to within three runs. But the White Sox brought in reliever Kevin Salvas at that point; Salvas pitched three innings of one-hit baseball, striking out five.
“He quieted the noise,” Fhurong said. “Kevin was one of the differences in winning that game.”
White Sox reliever Dalan Hoskins closed the door on the Rockies in the seventh, which had bases loaded with nobody out. The Rockies complete its season with a 9-4 overall record.
The White Sox, meanwhile, finish with a losing record, but as champions of the league.
“If we won or lost today,” Fhurong said, “I was just proud of the kids for being there.”
San Benito Babe Ruth 15-year-old All-Stars
Manager Joe Ocampo
San Benito Babe Ruth 14-year-old All-Stars
Manager Angel Rueda
San Benito Babe Ruth 13-year-old All-Stars
Manager Ron Fhurong