LAS VEGAS – In men’s fastpitch lingo, pitchers who shoulder the load are referred to as the workhorse, the guy that takes the ball inning after inning, game after game.
He doesn’t look to the bullpen for relief. He doesn’t complain that he’s tired, or that his arm aches a little.
He just goes out and does his job.
David Beets, a big, hard-throwing right-hander from Oklahoma fits that description most assuredly.
And he proved it Sunday afternoon in the 2017 Las Vegas Road Trip X tournament championship pitching for the A1 Rockies of So. California.
Dropped into the losers bracket by All Star Auto of Grass Valley, 6-0, in the winners bracket final, the Rockies fought back through the losers bracket to defeat All Star Auto twice to take the A-Major Division title.
And Beets hurled both games: an eight-inning 7-4 victory in game one, followed by a seven-inning 2-1 gem in the deciding contest.
Rockies manager and catcher Tony Acedo had a good view of Beets’ performance from behind home plate.
“Dave Beets was pretty much the man of the day,” said Acedo. “He was lights out for sure.”
Beets had everything working – rise ball, drop, curve and a change-up off his riser. In the second and deciding game, he allowed three hits, struck out five and walked one.
“He was getting tired in that second game,” Acedo said. “But he’s a workhorse and will give you 110 percent.”
All Star Auto took the early lead when Kody Kencke launched a solo home run over the centerfield fence in the third inning.
But the Rockies answered back in the fourth with a pair of runs. Joe Janicke led off the inning with a double down the left-field line and came around to score on two wild pitches.
Two outs later, Andy Martinez was hit by a pitch, followed by a walk to Charles Andurdy. Then an infield error allowed Martinez to score the go-ahead and winning run.
Beets gave up but one hit the rest of the way, a two-out triple by Justin Nicholson in the sixth. But he toughened and got a ground ball to end the inning.
Right-hander Mike Milligan turned in a workhorse type performance himself for All Star Auto with a three-hitter, four strikeouts, two walks and two hit batters. But two errors proved his and the ball club’s fatal downfall. Milligan also defeated the Rockies in the winners bracket final.
“He pitched well,” said All Star Auto manager Tom Allen. “We couldn’t come up with the big hit, but I’m happy with our guys. This is a great experience for our young guys that don’t have a whole lot of fastpitch experience, much less playing in a major tournament.”
ROCKIES TAKE GAME ONE WITH EXPLOSIVE EIGHTH
In the first title contest, All Star Auto’s Travis Kunz and Beets locked up in a scoreless pitchers duel through seven innings. And both were tough on the batters.
Beets hurled a three-hitter with 14 strikeouts and no walks, while Kunz fired a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts and a walk.
But then came the eighth and the international tiebreaker that starts each half inning with a runner on second base. When the rather explosive inning came to an end, the Rockies had held on for the 7-4 win.
The Rockies roughed up Kunz for six hits, led by Andy Martinez, Andurdy and Cory Wertz who all hit safely, followed by Jason Obregon’s booming triple into deep left-centerfield that plated two runs.
Then Ruben Lopez and Chris Paiva hit back-to-back singles that brought in the final two scores.
But All Star Auto refused to quit.
The Grass Valley, Calif. ball club answered back in its half of the inning with four runs on four hits. The big blows coming from Bobby Porter, Curtis Campbell, Russell Brackett and Kencke.
But Beets put an end to the uprising by getting an infield popup to end the game.
“We were a little rusty in the morning coming out,” Acedo said. “But we were ready to play in the championship.”
The Rockies finished with a 6-1 record in the 16-team tournament that drew teams from Canada, Mexico and the United States. While All Star Auto was 4-2.