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Loaf N' Jug finishes summer season strong

Loaf 'N Jug pitcher Ty Garcia delivers a pitch earlier this season during
the Tony Andenucio Memorial Baseball Tournament

Several winning streaks highlight 2018

BY JEFF BERSCH | The Pueblo Chieftain | JUL 20, 2018

As much as Mario Mattivi didn't want the season to end, it did Thursday night.

Loaf 'N Jug wrapped up its high school summer baseball season with a sweep of Colorado Springs Arena, winning 10-2 and 15-6 at Hobbs Field.

"This team did a lot of special things," said Mattivi, LNJ's third-year coach whose team finished 32-8. "This was a special team. They competed and became a team right away. I'm proud of this team.

"This was the type of team that I don't think wanted the summer to end. I didn't want this summer to end. These kids amazed me every time we went out there."

It certainly was a special season for Loaf 'N Jug. Zac Hanenberg threw a no-hitter in the first game and the team won its first tournament.

That came at the prestigious Cherry Creek Classic, where LNJ went 6-0 to claim the championship. It was the first time a team from Pueblo won the tournament in its 32-year history.

That success carried over to the following week at the Tony Andenucio Memorial Baseball Tournament, a home tournament and always the biggest of the season for the local team.

For a second consecutive season, Loaf 'N Jug reached the semifinals, something no team had done under the current format prior to last season.

The team this season reached the championship game, becoming the first from Pueblo to do so since 2001. Cheyenne, however, beat LNJ 3-2 in the championship game.

The loss kept alive a streak that dates to 1984, the last season in which a Pueblo team claimed a 'Nuch championship. Disappointing, sure, but it still was the biggest highlight of the season in Mattivi's mind.

"Coming back a week later (after Creek) and making that run in the 'Nuch, that was special," Mattivi said. "We've talked about it and you hear about it from a lot of people. A Pueblo team hasn't won the 'Nuch since '84 and been in a championship game since 2001.

"Those talks kind of stopped after Creek because we knew. We knew this team could do it. This team knew what it felt like to win. We just played for each other and they all bought it."

LNJ also had solid showings at tournament in Omaha, Neb., and Topeka, Kan., going a combined 6-3. They went 5-1 at a tournament earlier this month in Boulder, winning the rain-shortened event with a 2-1 win over the Colorado Aces.

Loaf 'N Jug won its final three games and eight of its final nine. In the past three seasons, the team has combined for an 80-26 record.

Mattivi hopes the success leads to future success. Before the season, he talked about how he hopes the best players from Pueblo will want to remain in Pueblo for the summer. Currently, some play for club teams in Denver and Colorado Springs.

"I hope so. I don't know what else these guys have to prove," Mattivi said. "I get it. I can't tell a kid to stay and play. That's not who I am. … But we've had a lot of kids recruited by playing hard and doing it the right way. I hope we get a lot of kids from Pueblo. I think if we get those kids, they can help us even more."





Average—Jayden Cordova (Pueblo West) .451, Kyle Jameson (Pueblo West) .429, Efren Perez (East) .429, Adam Muniz (Central) .338, Brock Rodrigues (Pueblo County), .341.

RBIs—Jameson 44, Donavin Ada (East) 37, Perez 36, Rodrigues 31, Muniz 30.

HRs—Perez 3, seven tied with 1.


Record—Lucas Watson (Lamar) 6-1, Tyler Pacheco (East) 5-1, Ty Garcia (Pueblo West) 5-1, Zac Hanenberg (Canon City) 5-1, Darion Martinez (Pueblo County) 3-2, Geno Cervi (Central) 3-2.

Innings—Watson 37 1⁄3, Garcia 35 1⁄3, Hanenberg 33, Pacheco 33, Cervi 26 1⁄3.

Strikeouts—Garcia 29, Watson 28, Pacheco 26, Cervi 25, Cole Medina (Raton, N.M.) 16.

ERA—Watson 1.31, Hanenberg 1.91, Garcia 2.38, Pacheco 3.61, Medina 4.08.