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July 10, 2012 > MSJLL Junior All-stars Rebound to Reach District 14 Finals

MSJLL Junior All-stars Rebound to Reach District 14 Finals

Submitted By Ed Hugo

The Mission San Jose Little League (MSJLL) Junior all-stars rebounded from a tough 6-4 loss to Niles Centerville (NCLL) to take a gut-wrenching game from Newark American (NALL) to reach the District 14 finals.

In the NCLL contest, MSJLL almost pulled off a miraculous victory as they entered the seventh inning trailing 6-0 before rallying to cut the lead 6-4 and had the potential tying run at the plate when the game ended. But the miracle comeback did not occur as NCLL finally prevailed 6-4. NCLL had built up their lead behind key hits off of the bat of Devon Duran who had two doubles and they took advantage of several walks and MSJLL errors. But MSJLL would not go quietly in the seventh inning as they rapped out six hits with Hanson Wang and Mikey Pyle contributing doubles to the rally. The key play of the game occurred with one out when a MSJLL runner failed to slide into third base on a close play and was called out giving NCLL the break they were looking for to put the game away and move to the tournament finals.

The game against NALL was a real barn-burner that went nine innings before Stanley Chiang's two-run home run provided the margin of victory. A total of nine pitchers were used in the game that saw more than half the runs scored as a direct result of walks, hit batsmen or defensive errors.

NALL jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with the big blow being a two-out, two-run double by Junior Roque. But MSJLL answered right back in the top of the second inning with four runs of their own to take a 4-3 lead with Josh Liu's double being the big blow of the inning. But that lead was short lived as NALL retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second inning without the benefit of a hit as the MSJLL pitchers walked two batters and hit another. The MSJLL defense also committed two errors in the frame. But, again, MSJLL bounced right back with two runs to take a 6-5 lead as Pyle's double keyed that rally.

The score remained 6-5 until the top of the fifth inning when MSJLL added a single run on Kevin Zhangxu's double. But NALL would not be denied as they rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take an 8-7 lead. Again, NALL scored runs without the benefit of a base hit as the MSJLL pitching staff walked four batters and hit two more. But with two out and the bases full of NALL runners, MSJLL manager Joe Facha brought Mark Gaffey to the hill which proved to be the turning point of the game. Gaffey silenced the NALL bats the rest of the way allowing no runs and only a single hit in four and one-third innings on the mound.

NALL retained their 8-7 lead until the top of the seventh inning when MSJLL rallied to tie the game as Stanley Chiang singled and eventually scored as a two-out, hard hit groundball off of the bat of Jason Kinner scooted under the glove of the NALL third baseman. The score remained 8-8 until the ninth inning when Chiang provided his long-ball heroics. MSJLL now moves to the District 14 Junior Division finals and needs to defeat NCLL twice to move onto the Section 3 tournament that begins on July 14 at Newark High School.

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