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Wednesday, July 25,  2001

Diablos qualify for spot in championship round

The West Texas Diablos posted a 2-1 record in the first day-and-a-half of the USSSA 12 and under AAA Division World Series in Hutchison, Kan., and earned a spot in the championship bracket of the week-long tournament.

A total of 84 teams from around the country competed in the tournament, which began on Monday, and teams were ranked after their first three games on the basis of won-loss record, total runs and run difference in their games. According to the USSSA's tournament web site, the Diablos were ranked 32nd out of the 84 teams following their first three games, with the top 42 teams advancing to the championship bracket.

The Diablos were paired in a round-robin series of games on Monday and Tuesday with three other tournament teams. They opened play with a 6-4 win over the Kansas Cobras Monday morning, and then dropped a 7-6 decision to the Ryland (Kentucky) Wildcats, before bouncing back Tuesday with an 8-5 victory over the Lifetouch Stunners of Lee Summit, Mo.

The West Texas Diablos are made up of seven players from Odessa and four from Pecos. One of the four, John Paul Salcido, was forced to miss the tournament after suffering a fractured arm in practice last week, while another Isaiah Rayos, was one of the Diablos' pitchers in their opening round-robin games.

The ranking system used to set up the championship bracket of the tournament put the Southern California Waves as the No. 1 team, after they went 3-0 in the first two days of the tournament and outscored their opponents 29-10. The highest-ranked Texas team was the Spring Klein Bombers, who were ranked ninth, and the Humble Wildcats, last year's tournament champions, who were ranked 10th.

Seven other Texas teams were ranked ahead of the Diablos in the USSSA listings, including the Andrews Mudcats, who were seeded 15th after going 3-0 in their games and outscoring their opponents 38-20. Teams from El Paso and Lubbock also qualified for the championship bracket of the tournament.

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