BRANSON, MISSOURI — Pacific Southwest capped off its Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series run with a 1-0 victory over Kentucky to become the Iron Bracket champions.
Pacific Southwest started the tournament, which ran from Aug. 1-10, with losses in its first two games in pool play. After starting 0-2, the team caught fire and won its next six games in a row to win the Iron Bracket. Pacific Southwest was also presented the sportsmanship award, which was voted on by the World Series umpires.
Mason Soares received the Golden Glove All-Defensive Team award, while Noah Gonzales received a custom bat after being named to the All-Offensive Team.
In the team’s first game of the tournament, Pacific Southwest lost 3-2 to Ohio Valley. Gonzales was 2-for-3 in the game, but it was Soares’ performance which kept the team in the game. On the mound, he allowed two hits over five innings with five strikeouts, which earned him MVP honors of the game. Pacific Southwest’s error at first base eventually allowed the runner to score on a single to center field.
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The second game was a tight 1-0 loss against eventual World Series finalist Pennsylvania. The team failed to capitalize on five walks and had only three hits. They also had some base running mistakes, which stifled momentum in the first and second innings. Maeson Maldenado was named the MVP after firing five innings allowing three hits with seven strikeouts.
Pacific Southwest came alive in game three of pool play with a 10-2 rout of host team Branson. Gonzales was 3-for-3 with a triple and Christian Mendez finished 3-for-4 with a two-run home run earning him MVP. Nick Johnson, Mendez and Gonzales all pitched in the game.
Soares and Landon Holloway combined to allow only three hits against Oregon in a 9-1 victory. Gonzales, Soares, Drake Tafolla and Damien Ayala all went 2 for 3 at the plate. Gonzales was the MVP after hitting a three-run homer.
After finishing 2-2 in pool play, the team was placed in the Iron Bracket. They defeated Curacao 11-1 in their first game followed by wins over New York (1-0) and New Zealand (4-3) to make it to the final game.