Last weekend, RBI Austin attended Major League Baseball’s RBI Southwest Regional Baseball and Softball Tournament at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex in West Dallas.
Teams from four organizations across the Southwest Region, including Houston Astros RBI, New Orleans RBI, Texas Rangers RBI, and RBI Austin, competed for the opportunity to earn an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2021 MLB RBI World Series in Vero Beach, Florida.
The Regional included 15U Baseball, 18U Baseball, and 18U Softball. All three RBI Austin teams represented Austin with class and had an unforgettable experience at the Regional.
15U pitchers Pedro Taveras (5.2 IP, 3 ER vs. Houston Astros RBI) and Sion Benjamin (6 IP, 3 ER vs. Texas Rangers RBI) led the way on the mound for RBI Austin, while Darius Stewart (.400 batting average, .455 OBP) and Mathew Cedillo (.375 batting average, .583 OBP) were the top performing hitters for the 15U team in Dallas, who was eliminated in pool play.
Softball pitcher Lori Duran Castillo (pitched in 3 games, including a complete game) led RBI Austin in the circle, Mia Gomez led the team defensively (4 putouts and 4 assists), and Analycia Herrera (.545 OBP) was the top hitter for the Softball team, who was eliminated in pool play after a 4-1 loss to Texas Rangers RBI.
The biggest story in Dallas though was RBI Austin’s 18U Baseball team. The 18U team went undefeated in pool play by defeating New Orleans RBI 11-7, Houston Astros RBI 7-6, and Texas Rangers RBI 6-1, earning a spot in Sunday’s 18U Regional championship game.
In the 7-6 pool play win over Houston, Mateo Del Riego had the walk-off hit. In the 6-1 victory over Texas Rangers RBI, Braylon Owens had a dominant performance on the mound, pitching a complete game with 11 strikeouts, surrendering only one run.
For the third Regional in a row, RBI Austin’s 18U team would face Houston Astros RBI in the Regional championship game.
This year’s championship game was unlike any other. RBI Austin got on the board in the 4th with RBI singles from David Webster Gomez, Ethan Vandament, and Greg Aguirre. With two outs and nobody on in the top of the 7th inning, RBI Austin held a 3-2 lead over Houston and was one out away from securing the Regional championship. But Houston hit a solo homerun to tie the game 3-3 and send it to extra innings.
After both teams went scoreless in the 8th, Houston scored two runs in the top of the 9th to take a 5-3 lead and put RBI Austin on the brink of elimination.
But RBI Austin wasn’t done yet. Greg Aguirre led off the bottom of the 9th with a single. Justin Strong and Mateo Del Riego also reached base to make it bases loaded and nobody out. Reed Burkett-Schneider then came through with a massive two-run single to tie the game 5-5. Houston intentionally walked Braylon Owens, making it bases load for Josh Cardenas. Cardenas drove an 0-2 pitch between the 3rd baseman and shortstop for a walk-off single, punching RBI Austin’s ticket to the 2021 MLB RBI World Series in Vero Beach, Florida.
Owen Moore (8.2 IP) gave RBI Austin all he had against a strong-hitting Houston team, and Josh Cardenas recorded the final out in the top of the 9th to earn the win.
Next up for the RBI Austin 18U Baseball team is the RBI World Series hosted by Major League Baseball at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida. As the RBI Southwest Regional champion, RBI Austin will represent the Southwest region against other RBI Regional champions from across the country.
Check out these post-game interviews from three of RBI Austin’s stars of the Regional – Josh Cardenas, Owen Moore, and Braylon Owens: