Alán game, a very
Mexico outlasts Panama to earn spot in International Championship
It’s always nice to see the catcher be the hero in a baseball
game, especially after squatting behind the plate for more than
the regularly scheduled six innings.
Alán Camarillo worked long and hard for nine frames, trying to
keep the swelling down on his left hand after being on the
receiving end of 22 strikeouts from hurlers Walter Montemayor and
Oscar Garza. Not only that, he was just 1-for-4 with two
strikeouts at the plate before coming to bat in the top half of
And when he did, KAPOW!
Camarillo cracked a two-out, three-run homer and Oscar Garza
worked out of trouble in the bottom of the tenth in his fourth
inning of relief as Mexico earned a spot in Saturday’s
International Championship with a 6-2 win over Panama at Howard J.
Garza struck out 11 of the 14 batters he faced, including the side
in the eighth, ninth and tenth innings. He had walked two in the
tenth before settling down to notch three straight punchouts.
The game went on for a World Series record three hours and 49
minutes, outlasting Toms River, New Jersey’s epic 13-9 win over
Jenison, Michigan in three hours, 11 minutes.
“It feels great,” Camarillo said of his catching efforts through
interpreter Micah Hughes. “I wasn’t really tired from anything. I
know they are two great pitchers. It was awesome.”
As for his game-winning home run, which he said was the biggest
long ball of his young baseball career: “I wasn’t doing well this
game and was under pressure because of that, but I got a fastball
and I hit it.”
Mexico couldn’t hold on to a 2-0 lead in the sixth as Panama
scored a pair of runs off starter Walter Montemayor in a spirited
comeback effort to knot the score at 2-2.
Eduardo Fruto led off the
inning with an infield single and Mario Gonzalez then knocked him
in with a triple down the right field line. A strikeout later,
Christian Bethancourt tapped one to Montemayor who threw home to
get a hustling Gonzalez out at the plate.
That set the stage for Jose Murllio, who with two outs and his
Mexico squad down to its last strike, stroked a 2-2 pitch down the
left field line for a double that scored Christian Bethancourt all
the way from first for the tying run.
was a big hit to our confidence,” Leal said. “It hurt, but we kept
them up and battled back and won the game.”
Montemayor, who was the losing pitcher in Mexico’s 3-2 loss to
Curacao Saturday, was perfect through three and two-thirds,
striking out nine of those first 11 batters, including the side in
the second and third innings.
He allowed a hard-hit single through the right side to Mario
Gonzalez with two outs in the fourth before fanning Sergio Rivera
to end the frame.
“I started out a little nervous,” Montemayor said through Hughes.
“But when I got my first strikeout [the second batter of the game]
I got confidence.”
Mexico strung together a two-out rally in the third to take a 1-0
lead. With Alexis Alanis on first, Ismael Garcia stroked his
second double of the game to right-center field, which advanced
Alanis to third. Montemayor then hit an infield chopper to the
left side between three infielders and beat the throw to first as
Alanis crossed the plate.
Mexico made it 2-0 in the fifth. Oscar Garza led off the inning by
working a base on balls, and then advanced to second on Alan
Camarillo’s sacrifice bunt. Alexis Martinez and his coaches
elected to intentionally walk Garcia to get to Montemayor, who
smashed a comebacker to Martinez that he knocked down but could
not handle. That loaded the bases for Victor Gonzalez, blooped one
into center field to knock in Garza from third.
Martinez struck out Ricardo Barragan and Israel Castro to end the
“I’m very happy with the way the kids played,” said Panama manager
Carlos Mosquera through Hughes. “They tried their best. Mexico had
two great pitchers. They were well rested. Good pitching always
eats good hitting.””
for box scores