Title game pits Gilroy vs. club coached by NL MVP Willie
Gilroy – After a two-month break from the 2005 Nor Cal NSA Tournament schedule, the 12U Gilroy Chaos got back into the swing of things by winning four of five games and taking second in the Aug. 27-28 BSC Tournament in Hayward. The runner-up finish also automatically qualified the team for the Fall Ball Championships.
By going a perfect 3-0 Saturday in pool play, the Chaos earned the top seed in the Sunday playoffs. The Gilroy team won the first game 7-5, which earned the team a spot in the championship game to face the Pinole Rays.
To the Chaos’ coaches surprise, the Rays were coached by former St. Louis Cardinal and San Francisco Giant Willie McGee, who won the MVP award as a Cardinal in 1985. McGee’s daughter plays for the Rays.
“We said, ‘Hey, that’s Willie McGee!’,” said Chaos manager Robert Lira. “We started talking to him. He was very nice and humble guy.”
In a game that Lira called “exciting, intense and demanding,” the Chaos fell to the tough Pinole team 5-2.
In the first inning, the Chaos scored one run and was able to hold the Rays to one run by ending the bottom of the inning with a double play. The Chaos took a 2-1 lead in the third inning and held the Rays again with another double play. The Rays scored a run to tie the game 2-2 in the fourth inning.
In the fifth inning, Gilroy was unable to take advantage and score on a long drive to right center field by Sarah Lira, who had a great weekend overall.
“That (ball) was gone,” said Robert Lira about his daughter’s hit. “She was thrown out at home, but that thing was the farthest hit all weekend long … If I would have just kept her there (at third), it would have made difference in the whole game.”
The Rays were able to pick up three more runs to end the game with the victory. Lira said other great defensive and offensive contributions for the weekend were made by: Nicole Lara, Chelsea Chilman, Dominique Perez, Stephanie Rodriquez, Marisa Gamboa, Adrianna Osuna and Stephanie Gomez.
Rodriquez (2 innings) and Sarah Lira (4 innings) shared pitching duties.
Lira said McGee was impressed with the Gilroy team’s talent. After Lira helped one of his players tend to an injury, McGee shared his coaching philosophy with him.
“At the end, he said, ‘You know, this is what it’s all about. It’s not always about winning or losing. It’s about improving and developing these girls,'” Robert Lira said. “Then he said ‘You guys are a class act.’ And that’s what he told me.”
The Chaos’ next tournament is next weekend in the Border Tournament in Salinas.