There seems to be a new hand gesture in southwest Detroit, with the thumb and the index finger extended. But it’s not “L” as in loser – it’s a “7,” as in the number of consecutive city baseball titles for Western.
The Cowboys (16-5-1, 12-0) added to their streak tonight at Comerica Park with a 6-0 victory over King. Western has not lost to a PSL team in three seasons.
“We’ve got to protect that streak; win every game, work hard, play hard,” said senior pitcher Louis Chapa, who hurled a complete game one-hit, nine-strikeout gem. “There’s a bit of pressure, but with the talent that we have, we keep it up and we hold the titles.”
“Pressure can only be a word,” Western coach Juan Sanchez said. “You can’t let it become an attitude or an environment. They just love it and they love coming out here. There’s a fine line between arrogance and confidence, and they have to stay on the right side of the line, and that’s what we’ve done.”
Western scored first when leadoff hitter Trey Henton walked, stole second, went to third on an infield throwing error and was driven home on a single by Jesse Hernandez.
But the Cowboys really didn’t take command until they scored twice in the third and added three more in the fourth.
Henton and Geraldo Montalvo both got on base leading off the third. Chapa’s single scored Henton and Montalvo came home on a sacrifice fly by Hernandez.
Again in the fourth, Western got its first two runners on base as Emanuel Roberson singled and Jose Garcia walked. King nearly got out of the inning, but Montalvo’s two-out fly ball was dropped for an error, scoring both baserunners, and Anthony Gutierrez followed that up with a double to bring home the final run.
“At first it was a very clean game,” Sanchez said. “The fly ball to left — that hurt (them). We capitalize all the time; good teams capitalize on mistakes. When the other team gives you extra outs, you’ve got to make it work, and I’m proud that we could do that.”
It was a familiar storyline for King.
“It played out pretty much like it has for our last six years,” King coach Norman Taylor said. “It’s déjà vu, déjà vu against Western. One play here, there always may change the outcome of the game.”
King (9-13, 7-4) had its best scoring opportunity in the sixth, when they loaded the bases on three walks, but an infield groundout ended the inning. Chapa closed strong, striking out two more hitters in the final inning.
“Louis was No. 2 last year, and he’s our No. 1 this year,” Sanchez said. “I’ve had some guys step up and give us great efforts all year. I tell them sometimes the hitting’s not going to be there, but if we pitch and we play defense, we’re going to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game.”