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Photo: Todd Gold

Tournaments : : Story
Banditos Victorious in Williams Return
Todd Gold         Ben Collman        
Published: Thursday, July 14, 2011

MARIETTA, Ga.-- Nick Williams announced his presence as a big time prospect last year at Sprayberry High School with a 4-for-4 game in which he hit 4 Home Runs (2 to left field, 2 to right field) during the WWBA National Championship. Williams entered the tournament as a relative unknown outside of the Houston area. He left as MVP. 

Today, Williams and the Houston Banditos Black returned to Sprayberry HS for the first time since that fateful day. However, the return trip was more than just a stroll down memory lane for Williams. It was a second round playoff matchup between two of the most talented teams in the nation; the Banditos and the recently crowned 18u WWBA National Champion San Diego Show. 

The game lived up to the promise. The early highlight was a 4th inning triple play turned by the Banditos. In the bottom of the 6th the Banditos had runners on second and third with one out when the Show intentionally walked Ricky Ramirez (2012 Deer Park HS, TX). A failed suicide squeeze led to the second out before a fly out to right ended the threat. The Banditos escaped a bases loaded, one out jam in the 7th. Williams singled with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th and stole second before being stranded in scoring position.

Things got even more exciting in extra innings. The Show led off with Pitcher Stephen Gonsalves (2013 Cathedral Catholic HS, San Marcos, CA) who smoked a deep fly ball to the right field corner. Ramirez made a spectacular diving catch on the warning track for the second out, threw to second to double off the runner who failed to tag up on a ball that looked like a certain extra base hit. In the bottom of the 8th Courtney Hawkins hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Williams to give the Banditos the 2-1 win in extra innings. 

Williams scored the winning run in a 1-for-3 day but Ramirez was the star for the Banditos. Ramirez went 2-for-2 with a walk, made the spectacular play in right field and pitched 6 innings, allowing one run on 3 hits with 4 strikeouts. Ryne Birk (2013 Steven Lakes HS, Katy, TX) drove in the first run for the Banditos, Josh Estill (2012 Santa Fe Christian HS, Carlsbad, CA) homered in the 5th inning for the Show. 

Williams said after the game that he didn't approach a game at Sprayberry any differently, even though its a special place to him. Williams said "it doesn't matter which field we play at, I just play hard." It was a tough loss for the Show, who just hoisted the trophy in the 18u tournament a few days ago but it was a thrilling game played by two great teams. The Banditos move on to face Palm Beach County PAL in the third round. Williams added "its going to be pretty tough but I'm confident in my teammates that we can win."
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