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Bashing at the 'Bado

  • Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson
    Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson

    Pueblo Azteca's A.J. Cordova delivers a pitch in the seventh inning against Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday in the Artie Escobado Memorial Tournament on Hobbs Field. [CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/AUSTIN WHITE]

  • Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson
    Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson

    Pueblo Azteca’s Marcus Duran connects for a single in the first inning against Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday in the Artie Escobado Memorial Tournament on Hobbs Field. [CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/AUSTIN WHITE]

  • Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson
    Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson

    Pueblo Azteca’s Kyle Jameson attempts to throw out a runner at first against Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday in the Artie Escobado Memorial Tournament on Hobbs Field. [CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/AUSTIN WHITE]

  • Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson
    Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson

    Pueblo Azteca’s Adam Muniz beats out the tag at third base against Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday in the Artie Escobado Memorial Tournament on Hobbs Field. [CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/AUSTIN WHITE]

  • Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson
    Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson

    Pueblo Azteca’s Tyler Barth connects on a single against Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday in the Artie Escobado Memorial Tournament on Hobbs Field. [CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/AUSTIN WHITE]

  • Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson
    Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson

    Pueblo Azteca’s Tyler DeClusin knocks a single up the middle against Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday in the Artie Escobado Memorial Tournament on Hobbs Field. [CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/AUSTIN WHITE]

  • Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson
    Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson

    Pueblo Azteca’s Seth Mora slides into third base after a passed ball against Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday in the Artie Escobado Memorial Tournament on Hobbs Field. [CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/AUSTIN WHITE]

  • Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson
    Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson

    Pueblo Azteca’s Seth Mora makes a catch in the first inning against Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday in the Artie Escobado Memorial Tournament on Hobbs Field. [CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/AUSTIN WHITE]

  • Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson
    Azteca vs. Fountain Ft. Carson

    Pueblo Azteca’s Adam Muniz slides back safely into first against Fountain-Fort Carson on Friday in the Artie Escobado Memorial Tournament on Hobbs Field. [CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/AUSTIN WHITE]


Pueblo Azteca 18U pick up two wins behind hot bats and Cordova on the mound

BY AUSTIN WHITE | The Pueblo Chieftain | JUN 22, 2019

Losing the Tony Andenucio Memorial Tournament last week created some obvious frustration for the Pueblo Azteca 18U baseball club.

The best way to release that anger for a baseball player is to attack the baseball and Azteca did that Friday night in a 17-3 win against St. Mary’s in the first game of the Artie Escobado Memorial Tournament.

A.J. Cordova fanned the flames from the mound in the second game as well, as seen by having a no-hitter through 5 2/3 innings and helping Azteca to an 8-2 win over Fountain-Fort Carson.

“We didn’t put together good at bats last week,” Azteca’s Tyler DeClusin said. “We knew we had to get the bats going again, warm them up. It felt really nice to come out, put the barrel on the ball and run, put up a bunch of runs.”

Specifically in the fourth inning is when Azteca let out the biggest roar as they had 12 runs in the inning.

Azteca used five singles, four walks, three doubles, two hits by pitches and a base-clearing triple from Tyler Barth to post the 12 runs and force two pitching changes from St. Mary’s in the frame.

“It feels really good to see that ball fly,” DeClusin said on his teammates’ deep doubles and Barth’s triple. “We had the wind, but those were still bombs with or without it. It was a really good day with the bats.”

Pueblo’s 1-8 hitters all had at least one hit and one RBI in the matchup while starting pitcher Josh Velasco was dealing on the mound for the second consecutive weekend.

He pitched all five innings, gave up only five hits and allowed three runs, one earned. Velasco picked up six strikeouts compared to four walks.

“Velasco had a knot in his back and I told him, ‘Just pitch to your defense, this is a very good defense,’” Azteca coach Mario Mattivi said. “I think Josh, as he has all summer, competed for five innings.”

With the goal not being met last week of ending the 35-year title-less streak at the ’Nuch, the new goal of winning the Escobado has some extra motivation.

But being the favorites again this weekend isn’t getting to the minds of Azteca.

“We know we messed up last week,” DeClusin said. “We know we’re a decent team and we just have to come out and play the game we know how to and the result well come out well.”

And through the first six innings of game 2 against Fountain-Fort Carson, no one touched Cordova’s fastball.

In fact, the Trojans struggled so much with the fastball that Cordova said it’s all he threw the entire game.

“95 pitches, 95 fastballs,” Cordova said. “Some of them had some movement ... I was going out there trying to hit the specific spots that do cause guys to get out down.”

A walk and an error from left field with two outs in the sixth left runners on second and third for (mascot). A double down the line ended the no-hitter, but more importantly tied the game at two.

But Azteca proved in the bottom half of the sixth that their offense can score on demand as they posted six runs to put the game to bed at 8-2.

“I think my guys knew what was going on, too, and they were upset about it and they went out there and said ‘(A loss) isn’t going to happen,’” Cordova said. “It’s definitely an experience, it’s fun, especially when you have some of your best friends just chilling out there helping you, too.”

Mattivi hasn’t hid his excitement about his 2019 squad and seeing the results from Friday only increase that joy.

However, he and the rest of the team know all it takes is one bad outing to end a tournament run, so he is prepared to keep the boys focused like they were on day one.

“This is a weekend that we can focus on ourselves and try to get back into the groove of things,” Mattivi said. “We’re close to just rolling and we just need to keep playing as a team and good things will happen.”

Azteca will be back in action today to finish up pool play with two games at 5 and 7:30 p.m. against the Cage Rats from Colorado Springs and Cherry Creek, both on Hobbs Field.

Chieftain sports reporter Austin White can be reached by email at awhite@chieftain.com or on Twitter @ajwrules44.