Volume 76, Number 17 | September 13 - 19, 2006

Sports

Gauchos don’t horse around, get into Parade Ground Finals

The 14-and-under Gauchos swept to the Parade Ground Finals this weekend. The Gauchos were the number-one seed going into the tournament, and have now completed the early rounds undefeated.

Powered by Nelson Jimenez’s potent bat, the Gauchos won the opener, 16-7, against the Bonnies. Then they had a tough game against the Richmond County Cardinals, a top team from Staten Island. The Gauchos prevailed, 7-2, scoring six runs in the second, an inning highlighted by catcher Joe Tellez’s two-run triple.

Moving to Sunday’s semifinals, the Gauchos drew Youth Service League, possibly the top team in the state. The Gauchos struck early and were leading, 7-1, with Jimenez pitching when he began to tire on the mound. Suddenly, Service had the bases loaded with nobody out and the heart of their order coming up, including Raoul Gonzalez and Daniel Perez, arguably the best two hitters in the P.G.L. Tommy Cardona was brought in from the outfield to pitch, and proceeded to strike out the side on 12 pitches — all strikes. After that, the Gauchos were never in trouble again and won, 10-4.

In game four, the Gauchos drew the Bonnies again and again took an early 7-0 lead; then their bats fell silent. The Bonnies picked up three runs in the fifth and then three more in the final frame. With two outs in the last inning, the Bonnies had the tying run on third and the winning run on second when Bonnie slugger Tavares flew out to Irving Guzman in right field.

Jimenez, Cardona and Tellez were all tournament standouts. Jimenez kept up his stellar hitting and is now batting .533 on the season. Tellez played excellent defense behind the plate throwing out eight runners over the weekend. Cardona, however, was simply amazing. Pitching sparingly, but always at crucial times over the weekend, he pitched in every game for a total of only eight innings. For most of that time, he was virtually unhittable, picking up three wins and a save while striking out 16 and giving up only five hits.

Youth Service League has won the losers’ bracket, so they will meet the Gauchos for the championship on Saturday. Service will have to beat the Gauchos twice, and the Gauchos will only have to win once. The game is at 2 p.m. at American Legion Park, 102nd St. and Seaview Ave., in Brooklyn.

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