Thunder takes first game of regional|[07/21/07]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ryno Martin-Nez and Jimmy Elliott may play for different schools but the pair looked like they’ve been playing together for years.

The duo combined to turn two double plays to key the Vicksburg Thunder to an impressive 8-1 opening day win over the Remington Bullets in the Babe Ruth 16-year-olds’ Southwest Regional at Bazinsky Field Friday. The Thunder advance to play Tri-County, Texas, today at 11 a.m. in the winners bracket.

&#8220I’ve actually known Jimmy since we were eight,” said Martin-Nez, who plays for St. Aloysius while Elliott plays for Warren Central. &#8220We’ve played on the Hurricanes for so long, we know how each other plays.”

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Still, they haven’t played together this year and were thrown together when the St. Al contingent picked up five players from WC’s Babe Ruth team to make the Vicksburg Thunder.

&#8220Good thing they knew each other from the Hurricanes because we haven’t had much practice,” said Thunder coach Trey Clark. &#8220No doubt, the double play they turned in the sixth was huge. They had first and second with no outs and we get the 4-6-3. That’s something out of them.”

The Thunder had just gone up 7-1 in the bottom of the fifth after Martin-Nez led off with a solo homer to left and Sean Weaver later scored on a two-out hit by Dylan Wooten.

Remington, out of Lonoke, Ark., appeared ready to get back into the game when Tyler Treadwell and J.R. Hart reached on a hit-by-pitch and walk from Thunder reliever Jay Harper.

Then Harper, a pitcher for WC, got Clayton Hillman to hit a grounder to Elliott at second. He made the flip to Martin-Nez to erase Hart, and Martin-Nez then threw to first for the double play.

Harper then got B.J. Manning to ground out to Elliott at second to end the inning. Wooten came in to pitch the seventh and retired three straight after the first two Bullets had reached.

&#8220I just had to tell them to throw strikes,” said Weaver, who was catching Harper and Wooten for the first time. &#8220It was hot. I gave them a couple of pointers like to calm down and take their time because we had the lead.”

Vicksburg built a 5-0 lead after three innings. A two-base error in the first helped move Dee White and Pierson Waring to third and second with no outs. A ground out by Martin-Nez followed by a hit from Stephen Evans plated the first two runs.

Waring knocked in a run in the second off a fly out and Elliott made it 4-0, scoring on a passed ball. In the third, Regan Nosser doubled and then scored on the first of two hits by Wooten.

Wooten and Elliott had two hits each for the Thunder.

Stephen Evans went four innings to grab the win. He allowed one run off three hits with one walk. Ricky Manning took the loss for Remington.

&#8220We made mistakes both physical and mental. And we got a couple of bad breaks, but the two double plays really got us,” said Remington coach Nick Kelnhofer.

Tri-County 16, Miss-Lou 4

Tyler Swenson went 4-for-4 to lead a 15-hit attack as Tri-County pounded Miss-Lou of Vidalia, La., in the opening game of the Babe Ruth Southwest Regional.

Swenson had two doubles, including one in the first inning to stake Tri-County to a 5-0 lead. Joe Tallerine had a solo home run in the second.

Mid-County 5, Vicksburg 2

Trae Hester took advantage of a mistake-plagued Vicksburg squad to lead Mid-County past the hosts.

Hester pitched a complete game, striking out eight. But his biggest move was picking Vicksburg’s Kurt Cooksey off first base with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and Mid-County guarding a 3-2 lead. The Gators’ Adam Lee was on third and could not score before Cooksey was tagged out.

Mid-County added two runs in the seventh off a double by Jordan Pitts, a Gator error and an RBI single by Hester.

West Arkansas 16, Cent. Miss 5

Preston Guidry had four hits, scored four runs and drove in three, and also struck out seven while pitching a complete game to lift West Arkansas in its regional opener.


Hot Springs 11, Venom 4

The Hot Springs Hornets, an all-star team from Arkansas, scored nine runs in their last three at-bats to blow open a close game and beat the Vicksburg Venom at the 9-year-olds’ Cal Ripken Southwest Regional in Crossett, Ark.

The Venom will continue pool play today at 9 a.m. against Eagle Pass, Texas, and then again tonight at 7 against Monticello, Ark.