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July 19, 2011 > Newark American bags two tourneys

Newark American bags two tourneys

By Gary van den Heuvel, Photo by Mike Heightchew

Newark American Little League (NALL) had two more additions to the trophy case last week, as both their 9-10 and 10-11 all-star teams won their respective District 14 tournament championships.

The 10-11 NALL club came through the winners bracket with well-pitched wins over Mission San Jose (by a score of 3-0) and Warm Springs (4-3) leagues, setting themselves up for the July 11 final (game one) at Warm Springs Elementary School against Niles-Centerville Little League (NCLL). Niles-Centerville had dropped their opener in a slugfest against the all-stars from Warm Springs (12-11), but they ran roughshod over their elimination bracket opponents (Mission, Newark National, and a payback win over Warm Springs in the semis) by a combined score of 23-5.

Facing their fourth straight elimination game (Niles would have had to beat Newark American twice to win the tournament while Newark could still afford to lose a game), Niles-Centerville continued to run hot, exploding for six runs in the second inning of a 9-3 win. Niles' second-inning runs came from timely hitting (a two-run triple by Carson Schreiber, singles by Sam Hoeven, Tristan Pettiegrew, pitcher Denny Rich) and daring base running (a steal of home by Pettiegrew as the catcher threw the ball to second, unsuccessfully trying to nail the thieving Robert Saylor), as well as a couple of errors and a hit batsmen thrown in.

That six-run inning was an anomaly, as NCLL's bats were mostly silent during the game, but it was more than enough support for Rich. Aside from allowing an unearned run in the first inning, Rich was spotless until the fifth, when NALL scored twice on a Michael Landeros homer (scoring David Asper).

Perhaps feeling the need to quell a Newark rally, NCLL's bats re-awakened in the top of the sixth inning with three insurance runs, but the runs were unneeded as Newark went down quietly in the bottom of the inning. Both teams reconvened the next day, an unseasonably cool and cloudy afternoon at Warm Springs to play game two, the winner-take-all game.

Newark American's batting woes were soon forgotten when they scored twice in the top of the first. An infield error scored London Lombana with two out. Blaize Stanfield singled, and Marco Arduini followed that with an RBI single to score Ryan Perez.

NALL struck again in the third with two more runs. Ricky Scully led off with a triple, and Perez got aboard on a grounder which the shortstop held too long, trying to keep Scully at third. A fielder's choice grounder by Stanfield brought in the run, and a few minutes later Stanfield was crossing home following consecutive two-out walks by Hiroki Thometz, Destin Clay, and Joseph Scully, respectively.

Trailing 4-0, Niles-Centerville quickly rallied with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Trevor Gee led the inning off with a double, followed by a Schreiber walk and an RBI double by Rich, who in this game was playing third base. A wild pitch scored Schreiber, and after a strikeout, Pettiegrew singled home Rich. Their lead now cut to one run, Newark quickly ended the inning with a double play.

That was Niles-Centerville's last stand, however, as they didn't score again. Newark American added one in the fourth to make the final score 5-3. The D14 championship sends them to sectional tournament play (see Tri-City Voice Sports website, http://sports.tricityvoice.com, for the schedules).

Patterson Elementary School hosted the 9-10 final July 13 between Newark American and Mission San Jose Little League (MSJLL). Newark American had rolled through Centerville National, Newark National, and Centerville American Little Leagues en route to the final. Mission had had a rougher road, dropping into the elimination bracket with a second-round loss to Centerville American. MSJLL successfully ran the elimination gauntlet with one-sided wins over Niles-Centerville, Newark National, Centerville National, and a semifinal rematch with Centerville American.

Mission opened the scoring in the first inning when Clark Wey singled, stole second, and came home on an infield error. The game became a pitchers duel until the top of the fourth, when Newark American's Alex Scully tripled and scored on Kimo Fukofuka's single. Pinch runner J.R. Briggs stole second base, took third on an error, and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Heading into the sixth inning, the game was a tense, well-pitched nail biter with Newark leading 2-1. Things unraveled from that point on, for both sides. In the top of the inning, Newark bruised the scoreboard with seven insurance runs, but the highlights were few; the inning featured three errors, two wild pitches, a passed ball and two walks. NALL's run scorers were Ivan De La Pena, Scully, Fukofuka, Josh Willis, Marcus Galvez, Nolan Letona and Bailee Waldschmidt.

MSJ made things interesting in the bottom of the sixth, mounting a comeback attempt with four runs to cut the deficit to 9-5, and managing to put the tying run at the plate after loading the bases (an RBI single by Ted Shaoxue and walks to Ben Hansen and Marcus Watkins). Newark American survived the scare when new relief pitcher Marcus Galvez induced a harmless grounder to short to close out the tournament.

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