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Local Athletes Win at Games in Canada

After three well-matched games against some tough competitors, members of Team California’s U17 baseball team were awarded gold medals at the 2014 North American Indigenous Games, which concluded last month in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
The team consisted of players from several area tribes, ranging in age from 14 to 17. Many of them played for the U14 boys’ baseball team that earned a gold medal at the 2011 competition in Milwaukee.
The roster included Morongo tribal members Alex Marcotte, Sean Martin, Pops Miguel, John Peukert III, David Smith, Wally Smith and Floyd Toro as well as Stevie Silvas, of Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians. Also on the team were of Clayton Spotted Eagle Lloyd, Lakota James Lloyd and Raven Lloyd of Barona Band of Mission Indians near San Diego, and Daniel Jiron of Pueblo of Isleta in New Mexico.
The team mounted a comeback in the final game against Wisconsin.
“We were down 6-3 going into the last inning,” said assistant coach Frank Miguel Jr., of Morongo. “We knew we had a chance to come back because we had the top of our lineup at the start of the seventh inning. We were tied in the bottom of the inning and went on to beat them, 8- 7.”
The team’s hitting helped propel them to gold medal status. Lakota Lloyd, 15, drove in two runs in the seventh inning. That was followed by a bunt from Wally Smith, 16, and a base hit from Miguel, 16. In the eighth inning, with runners at first and second, Silvas shot one over the right fielder’s head to win the game.
“It’s amazing when you get that (kind of win) but when (the loss) happens to you, it’s a heart breaker,” said Martin, 14.
The team practiced at least once a week at the Soboba reservation’s ball fields, which were centrally located for all players.
“My favorite part was being at the opening ceremonies and meeting new people,” said Silvas, 15, who pitched and played shortstop.
Head coach Robert Seneff is the community services director at Morongo. Also assisting with coaching duties was Johnny Silvas of Soboba, who also plays on the Mt. San Jacinto College baseball team.
Other local athletes competing in the games, which are held every three years, included Talia Dixon and Jade Morillo, both of Hemet. Dixon, of the Pauma Band of Mission Indians, earned a silver medal in the U16 Female High Jump competition. As a freshman at Hemet High School, she was active with the varsity track and field team.
Morillo, of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, earned a bronze medal in the 2K cross country U14 Female event and placed fifth in the 1,200 meter U14 Female event. The 13-yearold was the woman’s overall winner at February’s Soboba Trail Race in the 5K division.
The Press Enterprise
By: Diane A. Rhodes
August 15, 2014