August 1, 2006 > The heat was on for Little League players
The heat was on for Little League players
by Biff Jones
July 20 to 24 saw teams in five of the six Northern California Little League Sections hosting Majors (11-12) all-star tournaments played in the brutal heat that extended over much of the state. Host cities were Petaluma (Section 1), Redding (2), Palo Alto (3), Roseville (4), and Madera (6). Only the teams playing in Section 5 were lucky enough to escape the heat as their host was the coastal city of Santa Cruz. Minors (9-10 and 10-11) battled the same conditions.
The city of Fremont and Fremont American Little League (FALL) hosted a Minors Division (10-11) tournament in which Union City National and Mission San Jose participated from the Tri-Cities Area. After playing in games Thursday and Friday in 90-plus degree heat and with the forecast of temperatures going over the century mark for the Saturday and Sunday games, it was decided to move all of the scheduled 1 p.m. games to 10 a.m. to try and avoid the hottest times of the days. As it turned out, MSJ eliminated UC 8-2 on Saturday morning then MSJ was in turn eliminated by Northgate 5-4 on Sunday morning.
The most bizarre game was probably played in the Majors Division Tournament in Palo Alto on Saturday. With a noon scheduled start, it would be host Palo Alto National against Danville playing in the winner's (undefeated) bracket. As if six innings of baseball in the sapping heat were not enough, the game went into extra innings and remained tied into the 10th inning. At that point it was decided to stop the game to let the players recover before someone got seriously ill from heat exhaustion.
The second game, scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. start, was played, as at least these players were fresh. In this game, Tracy City National eliminated Union City National 11-9 for the right to face the loser of Palo Alto and Danville on Sunday at 2 p.m. However, it was decided to reschedule the Sunday game for a first pitch of 7:30 p.m. Meanwhile, Palo Alto and Danville resumed their game Saturday evening after the players had time to cool off, rest and take in plenty of fluids. The game ended up going 11 innings with PAN pulling out a one run victory by the astonishing score of 23-22 (This was not football, folks). No wonder the players were a bit hot and tired with all the running of the bases and chasing of batted balls.
Danville would rebound with a convincing 13-1 win Sunday evening to eliminate Tracy National before falling to Palo Alto, Monday evening, 10-8 in the championship game. That win by PAN would send them to the Northern California Divisional Tournament in Corte Madera this past weekend, where they would play the winners of the other five Northern California Section tournaments. The winner of the NorCal Division advances to the West Regional Tournament in San Bernardino. The West Regional championship game may be seen on ESPN or ESPN2 on Saturday, Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. PDT.