Fri, Jul 19 2013 11:26 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Chula Vista North Pony League hosted this year’s eight-team West Zone/Southern California Southwest Region Pony-14 championship tournament at Eucalyptus Park.
CV North Pony League President Saul Corona said one of the incentives for hosting the prestigious event is to allow players from the host team to play on their own field.
“I like it because we get to play at home — it gives our guys a little more confidence,” Corona said. “That’s the reward.”
CV North repaid its fans with a runner-up finish in the thrill-packed tournament that concluded with a somewhat bizarre finish Wednesday evening.
The tournament finished a day later than originally planned after the championship game was suspended at 10:45 p.m. Tuesday night with the score tied 13-13 through eight innings between Chula Vista North and La Jolla.
The game was resumed Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the top of the ninth inning. La Jolla scored three times in its half of the delayed inning to go on to claim a 16-13 victory.
Both teams now prepare for next week’s Super Region tournament in Lakeside. La Jolla earned the Southwest region’s No. 1 seed while CV North enters as the region’s No. 2 seed.
“Both teams came out hitting hard — line drives or multiple home runs,” CVN manager Pete Luna said. “It was back and forth between them. One team would go up a couple of runs and the other team would come back with a couple runs. It could have gone either way.”
The hosts took the diamond for two games on Tuesday, with La Jolla forcing a championship replay later that evening on the basis of a 12-9 victory in the first game.
The second game started a half-hour after the conclusion of the first game and was suspended due to a time limit.
The hosts fought back valiantly in both games on Tuesday but nailing down a victory proved elusive.
CV North battled back to tie Tuesday’s opening game at 5-5 on a home run by Sam DeCasas but La Jolla promptly scored five runs in the next frame to go ahead 10-5. Included in the LJ uprising was a three-run homer by Garrett Brown.
CVN’s Ryan Galuz homered in the bottom of the seventh to close out the game. The hosts had executed a double steal to tie the contest 2-all early on.
The outcome of the second game had to be a letdown for the hosts, who had clawed back to take a 13-11 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night. But La Jolla forced extra innings on Reed Farley’s two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning.
Before the game was suspended, the hosts loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning but, frustratingly, could not push a runner across the plate.
The game featured numerous lead changes.
La Jolla went up 8-5 on home runs by Carson Greene and Dane Hansen in the top of the fourth inning. But CV North rallied with four runs in the bottom half of the frame to take a 9-8 lead on a two-run home run by Justin DeGuzman, triple by Chris Luna, RBI double by DeCasas and a run-scoring single by Justin Bleisch.
But turnabout proved fair play for the visitors, who put up three more runs in the top of the fifth inning to lead 11-9.
CV North appeared to finally shake itself awake from what was quickly turning into a bad dream by scoring four times to lead 13-11. Galuz homered to make it 11-10, Jack Harris plated another run on an infield single, DeCasas drove a long single off the left field fence to drive in another run and Bleisch scored another on a fielder’s choice.
There could have been more. The hosts had two runners thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the third inning.
At the conclusion of Wednesday’s finale, the teams had combined for 29 runs, 29 hits and seven home runs. La Jolla totaled 14 hits and five homers while CV North collected 15 hits and two home runs.
The telling statistic in the game was the 13 walks issued by the eight CVN pitchers.
As play resumed on Wednesday, La Jolla’s Brown drew a leadoff walk and came home on a two-run home run (over the large green wall in center field) by teammate Casey Mariucci. Tate Samuelson followed with a solo shot over the same green barrier to give the winners their final margin of victory.
Nick Hammel received credit for the win on the hill.
CV North opened the regional tournament with a 6-0 win against Ramona last Friday and captured an 8-7 victory against Tecolote the following night in another winners bracket contest.
Memo Espinoza fired a one-hitter at Ramona in the opener.
In Saturday’s game, both CV North and Tecolote went into the bottom of the seventh inning tied 7-all. DeCasas reached base on a walk, stole second and then came around on a game-winning double by Bleisch.
Luna picked up the win.
In Sunday’s semifinal contest, La Jolla broke out to an early 1-0 lead but the tourney hosts roared back on a two-run home run by Luna in the bottom of the first inning. Luna would end up with four RBI in CV North’s 11-3 victory.
Matt Knueppel got the win to push the hosts to a 3-0 start and a berth in the championship game.
At stake on Tuesday and Wednesday was which team would take possession of the championship banner.
The Southern California Southwest Super Region tournament, which also features a second eight-team bracket in Whittier, boasts a total of 16 teams.
Chula Vista North went 3-0 to capture the 2013 San Diego North/South Section championship title in games played June 22-29 at Mission Sports Park in San Marcos.
CV North manager Joey Blanco credited the superb play of Joseph Akino and Alex Tejeda in helping carry the team.
Akino threw a one-hitter in a 12-0 opening game victory against Mira Mesa while also going 3-for-3 at the plate. Akino hit .750 for the tournament.
“He (Akino) was on fire with the bat,” Blanco said.
Tejeda hit two home runs and collected four RBI in the opener.
CV North defeated arch rival Chula Vista South, 8-7, in its second game in what Blanco termed a “back and forth affair.”
Chula Vista North drew a rematch against Mira Mesa in the championship game, winning by a score of 4-0 on a three-hit complete game effort by pitcher Oscar Ramirez.
CV North, Mira Mesa and CV South all advanced to the Southwest Region tournament July 1-9 at Tecolote Little League. CV North finished 1-2 with losses to Ramona (7-0) and CV South (7-5).
CV North opened the regional tournament with a 17-9 victory against Alpine. But the section champions could not maintain their momentum, with the shutout loss to Ramona dropping them to the elimination bracket.
Said Blanco: “Chula Vista South (then) returned the favor to put us out of the tournament.”
© 2009 The Star-News