BANGOR — The sense of urgency for the Rose Capital East all-stars from Tyler, Texas, came from within Thursday night.
The U.S. Southwest champions already had qualified for Friday’s Senior League World Series semifinals, so its final pool-play contest against a Brewer/Orrington team that had been eliminated from title contention could have resembled an exhibition game.
It was some exhibition, all right — a nearly flawless one as the Texans combined two-hit pitching, a 12-hit offense and errorless defense for a 10-0, five-inning victory over the Maine District 3 champions.
“We got beat today,” said Brewer manager Roger White. “We didn’t beat ourselves. We got beat.”
Chief among the protagonists for Texas was shortstop and leadoff batter Seth Gibson, who ripped two doubles and a single and scored twice.
“Coming into the game I wanted to do everything I could to make the team win,” said Gibson, whose undefeated team will play defending SLWS champion San Nicolas, Aruba, in Friday’s 10 a.m. semifinal. “The ball just seemed bigger to me today and I took advantage and did my job.”
Gibson also turned in the game’s defensive gem by barehanding a deflected grounder on the run and throwing out Brewer’s Evan Pelkey to end the top of the fourth inning while helping his team bounce back from a narrow 5-4 win over winless Canada on Wednesday night.
“This guy’s a stick of dynamite,” said Texas coach Bill Campbell. “I’ve known him a long time around our local Little League, and you ain’t got enough time tonight for me to explain to you what this guy does to motivate people.
“Every day’s a new day for him. He comes in with the same optimism and the same gusto and he packs a powerful punch.”
Braden Nelson, the second of three Texas pitchers, earned the win by retiring all nine batters he faced — a three-inning stint requiring just 26 pitches.
“I felt good,” said Nelson. “I was just throwing strikes and trusting my defense, knowing they could handle the plays if I threw strikes.”
Brewer (1-3) entered the contest knowing its chances of reaching the semifinals with a win were thwarted when Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy, defeated Montreal, Quebec, 13-7 earlier in the day, but started quickly with back-to-back singles by Kyle Alexander and Jeff Weeks to open the top of the first.
But Texas got out of the jam as starter Jacob Spitzer struck out Matt Morrow on a 3-2 pitch, got Spencer Valley to ground to Gibson for a forceout at second, then struck out Pelkey.
“We started off with two base hits and things looked good, then they got a tough 3-2 pitch on the next batter and the shortstop made a good play in the hole to get the force at second,” said White. “That was big for them.”
Gibson was stranded at second after hitting Pelkey’s first pitch in the bottom of the first to the left field fence for a double, but the Texans struck in a big way in the second, scoring five runs on four hits in the second.
Sawyer Dorsey hit a leadoff single to center, went to third on an errant pickoff throw and scored on Jacob Wadle’s double to left. Special pinch-runner Asher Boudreaux then made a special play, scoring from second on a sacrifice bunt down the first-base line by Nelson to make it 2-0.
Gibson followed a walk to Tanner Bandel with an RBI single to left, with the final runs then scoring as Spitzer reached on an error and on a sacrifice fly by Trace Reed.
While Spitzer, Nelson and Dorsey were retiring 15 of the final 16 Brewer batters they faced, the Texas offense secured an early ending to the game with a second five-run rally in the fourth, this time on six hits, including RBI singles by Spitzer, William Finley and Cade Suggs.
“These kids are incredibly resilient,” said Campbell. “They did a great of job of getting their focus back, and they got the emotion rolling tonight, and once that happened they just took care of business.”
Maine District 3 (1-3) 000 00 — 0 2 3
U.S. Southwest (4-0) 050 5x — 10 12 0
Pelkey, Alexander (4) and Forrest; Spitzer, Nelson (2), Dorsey (5) and Mallard