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Loaf 'N Jug opens with flare

Cruises to five-inning victory against Farmington (N.M.), improves to 8-0 overall

 BY JEFF BERSCH | The Pueblo Chieftain | JUN 14, 2018

There was no worry in the Loaf 'N Jug dugout Thursday night after spotting its opponent three runs in the first inning.

Not with this team.

Loaf 'N Jug bounced back quickly and cruised to a 12-3 victory in five innings over Farmington (N.M.) at Hobbs Field in its opening game of 39th annual Tony Andenucio Baseball Tournament.

The resiliency of the team has been a trademark so far, according to coach Mario Mattivi, whose team is coming off a championship last weekend at the Cherry Creek Classic.

With the latest win, Pueblo's local high school summer team improved to 8-0.

"We're a pretty good team, and we know our offense and defense are good," said Efren Perez, who played at East High School. "We weren't worried. Just a little bit tight. That was it."

It was Perez who loosened things up with a three-run double with no outs in the bottom of the second inning that tied it 3-3.

The floodgates then opened in the third inning with Loaf 'N Jug scoring eight runs to take an 11-3 lead. It sent 11 batters to the plate. Perez again was in the middle of it, delivering an RBI single for a 6-3 lead.

Perez, who served as the designated hitter, finished 3 for 3 with four RBIs. He came in batting .579 early in the season and raised his average to .636 (14 for 22).

"He's just unconscious," Mattivi said. "It's good for him and I'm proud of him. He's been a very big contributor for us at the DH spot. … You can't take that out of the lineup."

This was the first game at home this season for LNJ and it came in front of a decent-sized crowd at the Runyon Field Sports Complex.

Mattivi said that may have been a reason for the rough start. Trevor Pacheco allowed three singles to begin the game. Two came in on a groundout and error, while the third scored on the fourth hit of the inning by Farmington.

Pacheco, who also played at East, settled in from there. He allowed six hits over five innings with three strikeouts and just one walk.

Zach Thomas had a run-scoring single in the eight-run third and added a home run leading off the fourth. Brock Rodrigues cleared the bases in the third with a triple to center and scored on a throwing error.

"We're just playing with the next-guy-up mentality," Mattivi said. "Crooked numbers come up quick sometimes with these guys. They play hard and they play for each other. If someone struggles, the guy behind them is next up."

Loaf 'N Jug is back in action today with a pair of games in pool play. It will face 4-Corners at 5 p.m. and Grand Junction at 7:30 p.n. Both games are on Hobbs.

"It felt pretty nice to win a tournament with these guys. They're special to me," Perez said. "We're just going to keep going and try to win this tournament now."

No Pueblo team has won the 'Nuch since 1984 and no Pueblo team has played in the championship game since 2001.

jbersch@chieftain.com


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LNJ Boxscore (June 14)

Loaf 'N Jug 12, Farmington 3

Farmington 300 00 -- 3 6 1

LNJ 038 1x -- 12 10 2

Pardo, Mulford (4) and Hayden. Pachecho and Thomas. HR: LNJ, Thomas (fourth inning, none on).

-- Compiled by Jeff Bersch