Three & Two Warriors win Pee Wee Reese World Series
The Three & Two Warriors, back row from left to right: Khaden Rullo, Kohl Rullo, Julian Terrazas, Dylan Goltl, Isaac Waschmann, Noah Scott and J.T. Shank. Front row from left to right: Chase Jaworsky, Dante Nori, Lathan Van Ausdal, Carson Tinney and Brayden Duman.
By Liz Rector; photo courtesy of Jon Shank
A group of talented young players from Highlands Ranch, including several Castle Pines players, have taken the 12u baseball world by storm. The Three & Two Warriors team is comprised of 13 dedicated players who entered the seventh and eighth grades this fall.
They boast of 13 tournament wins in 2017 and have won all four 2017 major state championships: The Prep Baseball Report Championship, Continental Amateur Baseball Association Championship, United States Specialty Sports Association Championship and the Triple Crown Championship.
In late July, the team proved victorious against a number of top New Mexico, Texas and Arizona teams to qualify for the Pee Wee Reese World Series in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. Led by Head Coach Ryan Duman and Assistant Coaches Jon Shank, Eric Jaworsky, Brandon Duman and J.J. Rullo, the team made its way to the island.
“We are super proud that our boys brought their ‘A’ game all the way to Puerto Rico,” stated Assistant Coach Jon Shank, a Castle Pines resident. “The atmosphere was electric, loud, and the people of Puerto Rico were incredible to us.”
Far from the familiarity of Colorado, the Warriors drew a bye in their first game, setting them up for a second-round game with the host team from Toa Baja. They lost that game in a 20-15 slugfest. Next, they were scheduled to play the Puerto Rico national champions. Swooping in with a come-from-behind 12-7 win, the Warriors were able to eliminate the Puerto Rico national champions. After their win, he Warriors played the Midland, Ohio team, winning 13-5 and qualifying for the Sunday championship series. In order to claim the tournament, the Warriors needed to beat the host team twice.
The Three & Two Warriors traveled to beautiful Toa Baja, Puerto Rico in July to compete in, and ultimately win, the Pee Wee Reese World Series.
On a warm sunny Sunday in Puerto Rico, the Warriors played a back and forth game, eventually beating Toa Baja, 6-5. For their second game against Toa Baja, the Warriors started off strong, scoring four runs in the first inning and earning a 13-5 victory over the host Puerto Rico team.
“It was the most amazing experience we could have ever imagined,” added Shank. “The last two games were televised live (in Spanish) throughout Puerto Rico on WIPR television.” A bustling stadium full of spectators, along with everyone watching the games on TV had the opportunity to witness the [team] win their fourth national championship in five years.
“Getting to play on TV and having everyone back home get to watch is something I will always remember,” said 12-year-old J.T. Shank, who is the team’s first base player and pitcher. “Playing against the Puerto Rican teams was so much fun. It was hot in Puerto Rico, and the fans were very loud. By the third game though, I could tell a lot of the Puerto Rican fans were cheering for us too!”
The Warriors’ win in Puerto Rico was the franchise’s 50th tournament championship and 420th game win since inception.
“We get to travel a lot for baseball,” seventh-grader Brayden Duman (third base and pitcher) stated. “Being in Puerto Rico and representing Colorado was the best. Everyone was so nice to us and we made a lot of friends.”