The Robstown Cottonpickers could only make it to the consolation game at their tournament as they defeated the John Paul II Centurions Saturday afternoon at Picker Field.

Though John Paul II gave Robstown some trouble, the Cottonpickers prevailed with a 3-0 win against a team that's in its first year in existence.

The Centurions are made up of freshmen and sophomores, but that did not matter to Robstown head coach Steve Castro.

"Baseball is baseball no matter what level the opponent is," Castro said. "They're out here to compete and so are we. There are just nine players we are going against, and we are going to try our best."

Freshman Michael Velasquez started the game for the Cottonpickers and started off well with a strikeout against Centurion Jaime Mora.

After that, he walked his next three batters and threw 14 balls out of 15 pitches, including 11 straight out of the strike zone.

Castro did not like what he saw after Velasquez loaded the bases and he sat the freshman down after 1/3 of an inning.

"He's only a freshman and he was nervous and to be on the field is the only way he is going to learn," Castro said. "He needs to realize that playing varsity ball is a different experience, and we are not going to hesitate to use him again."

Coming into relief was John Juarez.

Juarez pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up no runs and just two hits.

With the game still scoreless, John Paul II pitcher Nathan Humpal came in to relieve Robert Hernandez in the bottom of the third inning after Hernandez walked back-to-back batters.

With runners on first and second, Robstown's Ruben Elizondo knocked an RBI-single, bringing in Joshua Rivera to give the Cottonpickers a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Centurions were up to bat with Joey Perez at first base for Christian Cisneros.

After he made contact with the ball, Robstown centerfielder Brandon Gallegos made an impressive over-the-shoulder catch.

Unaware that the ball was caught, Perez had already rounded second on his way to third base.

Gallegos threw the ball to first baseman Manuel Rodriguez, who missed the ball as it rolled into the dugout, putting it out of play as Perez safely made it back to first base to avoid the double play.

Despite the Cottonpicker miscommunication, John Paul II was unable to capitalize on the mistake.

Although it wasn't for the championship, Castro was pleased with the way Robstown played. He hopes that the Cottonpickers are able to polish their game before district play begins.

"March 25 is when the real competition begins," Castro said. "Those are when the games matter the most. It's all about those 10 important games. All of these (non-district) games are like scrimmage games to us."

The Cottonpickers are hoping to win their third straight and final District 31-4A title before moving to 3A next season.

Robstown played Victoria Memorial Monday night and the Cottonpickers will participate at the Mira's Baseball tournament beginning today at Cabaniss Field.