For District 41 champion Rancho San Diego, the first inning proved a portent of things to come in Tuesday’s California Little League Section 7 championship game at Sweetwater Little League. SVLL’s hitting parade started with lead-off hitter Parker Flippen smashing a home run, and it only got worse from there.
When the game was finally over, SVLL had amassed a 12-3 victory and its players were parading around the field with the section banner.
Mitchell Griffin continued his torrid hitting streak with a two-run blast in the opening frame — his third homer of the tournament (he hit three the whole regular season). He had a monster game with four RBI and played a terrific second base with a diving stab at a ball headed for center field to get a force out.
As it turned out, Sweetwater Valley got all the runs it needed in the first inning by pushing five runners across the plate.
First baseman Ryan Fleeson hit a liner just over the third base bag that scored both Andres Velasco (on base via fielder’s choice) and Blake Flippen (on base via an error).
SVLL batted around in the third inning to push its run total to 11. John Freeman doubled in the final run in the fifth inning on a booming shot.
Abraham Rodriguez pitched very effectively against a very good hitting RSD team, limiting the D 41 champions to only three hits and three runs in four innings of work.
Other SVLL home runs came off the bats of Bryce Jurries (a solo shot in the second inning to make the score 6-1) and Rodriguez (a solo shot in the third inning to increase his team’s lead to 7-3).
With the victory, Sweetwater Valley, which finished 3-0 in the section tournament, advances to the Sub-Division III tournament hosted by Tijeras Creek Little League District 68 in Rancho Santa Margarita. SVLL opens the sub-division tournament July 24 with a game against the Section 8 champion.
RSD’s Cole Henderson, who had a monster game in Monday’s 11-10 elimination victory over District 66 champion Spring Valley, started Tuesday’s game but maxed out on his pitch count. He allowed 11 runs.
Andrew Shebloski accounted for all the scoring for RSD. He scored his team’s first run in the second inning after drawing a walk, advanced on a passed ball and then scored on a Nick Allen fielder’s choice. In the third inning, he homered after Cole Hopkins had drawn a walk.
There wasn’t much hitting by RSD after that, though Allen made a nice defensive play behind the pitcher to get out a runner at first base.
RSD finished 2-2 in section tourney play.
9-10 Division Finals
Rancho San Diego captured its opening two games, defeating Calexico and Eastlake, to advance to Tuesday’s championship game. The District 41 champions faced Eastlake in a rematch after Eastlake eliminated Twin Hills, 10-1, in Monday’s challenger bracket final.
Eastlake, however, was not as fortunate in its championship match-up against Rancho San Diego. RSD won 9-3 to advance to the Sub-Division III tournament hosted by Newmark Little League District 43 in San Bernardino.
The D42 champs, who finished 2-2 in the section tourney, had an early lead but could not hold it.
Eastlake kept its momentum rolling from the district finals by defeating Twin Hills, 12-2, in its opener on Saturday but dropped its next game, 6-4, to RSD on Sunday to drop to the challenger bracket. Twin Hills eliminated Calexico on Sunday to draw a rematch with Eastlake on Monday.
RSD went undefeated in its three section games.
10-11 Division Finals
In games at Lakeside National Little League, Rancho San Diego won its opening two games, topping Imperial and National City American, to advance to Tuesday’s championship game. The reigning District 41 champions then defeated Luckie Waller, 16-3, to advance to the Sub-Division III tournament hosted by District 33.
National City American pushed Luckie Waller into the challenger bracket with an opening game 11-6 victory before falling, 12-4, to RSD in the next round. Luckie Waller staved off elimination with a victory against Imperial on Sunday to draw a rematch with NCA on Monday, winning in a slugfest 17-15.
Junior Division Finals
In the Junior Division sectionals at United Santee Little League, Lemon Grove racked up a pair of wins, defeating Brawley and Luckie Waller, to advance to Tuesday’s championship game. Luckie Waller shut out United Santee, 10-0, in its opener on Saturday, but dropped its ensuing winners bracket game against Lemon Grove, 10-0, on Sunday.
Luckie Waller and Brawley (3-1 first-round losers to Lemon Grove) tangled Monday in an elimination game, with Luckie Waller pulling out a 6-1 win to face Lemon Grove in a rematch. The reigning District 66 champions won the rematch, however, 5-0.
As the Junior Division Section 7 champion, Lemon Grove advances to the Sub-Division III tournament hosted by La Sierra Little League District 24 in Riverside.
Senior Division Finals
Spring Valley out-scored Luckie Waller, 10-0, in the opening game of the teams’ best-of-three championship series. The teams met again on Monday, with Spring Valley capturing the section banner with a 15-2 victory to advance to the Sub-Division III tournament hosted by District 72 in Corona.
Section 7 champion
Players: Parker Flippen, Bryce Jurries, Abraham Rodriguez, Andres Velasco, Quentin Harrison, John Freeman, Dario Alvarez, Cayman Hudson, Mitchell Griffin, Blake Flippen, Josh Pagdilao, Darryck Williams, Ryan Fleeson.
Manager: John Flippen. Coaches: May Lou Flippen, Darrell Williams.
Rancho San Diego
Section 7 runner-up
Players: Nick Allen, Drew Andersen, Jacob Armijo, Cade Baker, Ryan Burke, Dominic Donato, Cole Henderson, Cole Hopkins, David Hopkins, David Todd Jeremiah, Andrew Shebloski, Spencer Simms, Jared Tardiff.
Manager: Steve Shebloski. Coaches: Tom Allen, Pat Healey.
Rancho San Diego
Section 7 champion
Players: Matthew Armijo, Carson Baker, Alex Cera, Zach Hogueisson, Cole Howard, Bradley Jeremiah, Josh McNish-Heider, Connor Moser, Noah Nadeau, Evan O'Neill, Brett Osborne, Riley O'Sullivan, Caleb St. Clair.
Manager: Tommy Armijo. Coaches: Greg Baker, Cory St. Clair
Section 7 runner-up
Players: Justin Boyd, Sebastian Gomez, Arata Hafuka, Brendan Hernandez, Jerry Lewis Jr., Ryan Marchesano, Zaine Mendoza, Josh Montoya, Zach Parry., Brian Reyes., Eli Shelton, Logan Van Veldhuizen
Manager: Tim Boyd. Coach: Manny Hernandez