By Evan Mohl
Killeen Daily Herald
Sam Weston knew the ball was gone from the moment it left his bat.
But that didn't stop the little leaguer from watching the ball sail over the left-field fence – the first home run of his young career.
Weston trotted around the bases and stepped on home plate in front of a mob of teammates to cap the Killeen Pirates' 12-2, five-inning win over the Killeen Mets in the 12-and-under Texas Teen-Age Baseball District Championship.
"I knew it was going," Weston said with a wide-eyed grin. "It felt so good and it was so high. It was really exciting."
Weston's blast was just a small piece of the Pirates' domination. No team got close to the champions, who won every game by at least eight runs, thanks to excellent pitching, timely hitting and solid fielding.
The Pirates advanced to the state tournament – the second team from Killeen in as many years to go. The Texas Tribe won the whole enchilada last season in the Senior Midget category (9 and 10 year olds).
"We're not done yet and I think we're going to represent Killeen really well at the state tournament," Marsh said. "This is a group that has been together for three years and the trip is a culmination of all the hard work and sweat they have put into the team."
Raven Sauceda dominated on the mound as he had all tournament. Sauceda relied on his 76 mph fastball, but mixed in a slider and curveball to keep Mets hitters off balance.
Sauceda, just 11 years old, struck out 11 batters in just five innings of work, including two of the final three hitters. The righty allowed one earned run all tournament, a homer to the Mets.
"He's just at another level," Marsh said. "Raven's been a great addition to us."
Michael Ray Zapata, Tristan Huber and Sauceda each scored two runs. Zapata and Sauceda added two hits apiece.
The Pirates' aggressive base running also paid dividends. They executed a delayed steal of home and several double steals. Five players registered at least one stolen base.
One player took two bases on a walk.
In the Senior Midget District Tournament, the Harker Heights Sidewinders fell twice;
once to the Temple Astros and once to the Temple Reds in the semifinals.
The Copperas Cove Astros bowed out of the tournament with a loss to the Reds.