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June 24, 2009 > MSJLL to host Little League Section 3 Big League Tournament

MSJLL to host Little League Section 3 Big League Tournament

By Biff Jones
Photos By Don Jedlovec

Father's Day, June 21, saw the Cardinals of Niles-Centerville Little League (NC) battle the Astros of Mission San Jose Little League (MSJ) in District 14 (Fremont and Newark) Big League (16-18 year-olds) Shaughnessy Tournament.

As the number-one seed, NC had to lose twice to be eliminated. If MSJ won, then a second game between the two teams had to be played the next evening with the winner crowned the champion.

NC scored the first run of the game in the top of the first. After one out, NC second baseman Jay Haak reached base on a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Then with two outs, shortstop Sean Pope singled Haak home for a 1-0 lead.

Top of the second saw NC first baseman Eric Ferrell lead off with another single and he also advanced to second on a wild pitch. Left fielder Athan Sinodinos followed with a double but Ferrell was unable to score, putting runners on second and third with no outs. That is when MSJ pitcher Eric Gwynn bore down and retired the next three NC hitters on a short fly ball, strike out and ground out to get out of the inning unscathed.

There would be no further scoring until the bottom of the fifth inning as NC pitcher Joel DePorte did not allow a hit or a walk until MSJ first baseman Jacob Andresen led off the fifth with a double. Andresen was then pinch run for by Greg Oliveira. After two outs, Oliveira scored MSJ's first run when he was singled home by left fielder Ryan Mahuron to tie the score, 1-1, after five.

NC would go quietly in the top of the sixth to set the stage for MSJ in the bottom half. After an out, MSJ shortstop Spencer Peterson singled and was moved to second on a single by pinch hitter Chris Gonzalez. DePorte was then relieved by Colby Norling, after five and a third innings of work. Norling induced a fly ball for the second out of the inning after which Astros' pitcher Gwynn doubled home two runs to give MSJ a 3-1 lead going into the top of the seventh.

Ferrel led off NC's top of the seventh with his second single of the game only to see Gywnn retire the next three hitters in order to give MSJ a 3-1 victory and force a second game on Monday, June 22. Results of that game were unavailable at press time. Log onto to obtain the score.

Unlike the other LL divisions, Senior, Junior, Major and Minors where leagues put together all-star teams to compete for world championships, Big League's all-stars are made-up of district teams. District 14 chose its Big League all-star team after Monday's championship game. They will compete against four other districts, including District 45 (Hayward/Union City Area) starting this Saturday, June 27, also at MSJ (Gomes Elementary School) in a double elimination tournament.

Game 1 will be Saturday at 10 a.m. followed by game two on Saturday at 2 p.m. D45 will play in game two. D14 plays in game three on Sunday at 1 p.m. against the winner of game one with game four, also on Sunday, at 5 p.m. pitting the losers of games one and two. Games continue with one game each day, Tuesday, June 30, through Friday, July 3, at 5:30 p.m. The game on Friday, July 3, is the "what if" game.

Winner of the Big League sectional will represent Section 3 in the divisional (Nor Cal) tournament. Division winners will play in Washington State at the Western Regional with that champion moving on to the Big League World Series in Easley, S.C., July 29-August 5. Big League championship game will be televised Wednesday, August 5, in prime time on the ESPN family of networks.

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