WACO, Texas — The Eastdale Major All-Stars, state Little League champions, defeated Pine Bluff (Ark.) Western 13-8 in nine innings Friday in the first game of the eight-team Southwestern Regional tournament.
New Mexico scored nine runs in the top of the ninth inning to break a 4-4 tie on the strength of two homers by Trent Kiraly and one by Barrett Haemker.
Eastdale took a 1-0 lead in the third on a homer by Chase Weissenborn and added three runs in the fourth for a 4-0 lead. But Arkansas scored four in the bottom of the sixth to tie when Tyler Brown hit a three-run triple with one out and promptly stole home.
In the top of the ninth, Kiraly hit the first of his two homers to give New Mexico a 6-4 lead. Haemker added a three-run homer and Kiraly hit another two-run homer to build the edge to 13-4 before Arkansas made it closer.
New Mexico will face Biloxi, Miss., a 2-1 winner on Friday over North Boulder Colo., today at 4 p.m. (MDT) in the second of its three games Pool A play. The other team in Eastdale’s pool is Colorado. Pool B has East Texas, West Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
The top two teams in round-robin pool play advance to the semifinals Tuesday. The winner of the tournament earns a berth in the World Series at Williamsport, Pa., in mid-August.
Friday’s game was played in humid conditions with temperatures in the mid-80s, causing many of the players to be drenched after the four-hour game.
“Our catcher, Phoenix Autry, caught the whole way and he almost passed out after the game,” said Steve Kmatz, father of player Jacob. “We just got him cooled down and hydrated and he was OK.”