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Modesto Babe Ruth survives pooling, enters tournament as No.3 seed
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The Modesto Babe Ruth All-Stars pledge allegiance to the flag during the opening ceremony of the World Series Tournament in Texas. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Modesto Babe Ruth All-Stars got out to a rocky start in Weimer, Texas this past weekend, losing to the New York All-Stars, 8-6, on Saturday and the Tri-Counties All-Stars of Texas, 11-9, on Sunday in the first pool games of the 2012 Babe Ruth World Series. Despite the rough start, Modesto rallied back on Monday to defeat the Bismarck All-Stars of North Dakota, 8-2, before beating the Alabama All-Stars 4-3 on Tuesday.

Now, with the pool games complete, Modesto will enter the quarter-finals of the World Series as the number three seed in the American Division.

“We’re pretty confident,” head coach Bobby Swedberg said. “Things didn’t go our way in the first two games but we battled back. We seem to play better with our backs against the wall.”

Modesto’s knack for performing under pressure came in handy on Tuesday as a loss against Alabama would have eliminated the team from the tournament. After giving up a run in the top of the fourth inning and two more in the top of the sixth, Modesto entered the bottom of the seventh inning one run behind Alabama.

With two outs and one strike away from elimination, Cameron Godfrey connected for a single into center field scoring Connor Torres with the tying run from second base and Bobby Schauer with the winning run from first. It was the fourth time in four days that Modesto’s game was decided in the final inning.

“All the teams are quality teams. Thousands of teams try to make it this far each summer, and we’re one of those teams,” Swedberg said. “We’re going to be facing stiff competition but if we play good baseball we’ll be alright.”

Local players on the Modesto Babe Ruth team include: Pitman High graduate A.J. Derr, Turlock Christian High graduate John Westberg, Hilmar High graduate Matt Tyler, Cal State Stanislaus athlete Clayton Miller and Merced Junior College athlete Tyler Herd.

Modesto’s next opponent will be the Mid-County All-Stars of Texas. The two teams will play Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with the winner facing New York on Friday.