Chula Vista North Pony League grabbed the spotlight last year as its 13-year-old all-star squad captured the Pony World Series title. The league began defense of its world championship title, in essence, by holding its league championship tournament last weekend. In finals played on Sunday (June 12), the third-seeded Brewers defeated the second-seeded Yankees, 11-4, to cap the 2011 season.
League president Saul Corona said the outcome of this year’s championship playoff tournament held true to form.
“It’s not uncommon for the regular season champion not to win the playoff tournament,” he said. “It’s more rare when it does. It was a great tournament with close games. I think in the playoffs, the other teams get more intense and want to win something — they give it a little more than in the regular season.”
The top four teams in the league’s eight-team set-up qualified for this year’s championship playoffs. The Cardinals and Yankees finished in a tie for first place with identical 20-8 records, followed by the Brewers (19-9), Reds (13-15), Athletics (12-16), Padres (11-17), Mets (9-19) and Red Sox (8-20).
The Cardinals earned the No. 1 seed while the Reds were seeded fourth.
Teams began play June 9 as the Cards defeated the Reds 10-4. The Brewers dropped the Yankees to the challenger bracket via a 5-0 shutout win the following evening.
Three games took place on Saturday (June 11). The Yankees eliminated the Reds, 6-3, while the Brewers edged the Cardinals 5-4. In the final challenger bracket game that day, the Yankees then eliminated the Cards 11-9.
The upstart Brewers and Yankees met on Sunday (June 12), with a Brewers’ win cementing this year’s championship. But the Yankees held off elimination for at least one more game with a 3-1 decision to force a second championship game later that afternoon.
The rematch belonged to the Brewers and specifically Isaiah Armenta, who cracked two home runs and also doubled to drive in four runs. Teammate Abraham Rodriguez went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI while hurling the final three innings to pick up the save in relief of starter Daniel Pol.
Andy Rios (2-for-4) and Gustavo Fimbres (3-for-4) helped keyed the Yankees by each driving in one run.
In the first game on Sunday, Jose Melchor drove a pitch over the green monster wall in left center field in the bottom of the sixth inning to cap a 3-1 Yankees victory. Fimbres had a double in the game while Andrew Defante scattered four hits, struck out four batters and did not walk a batter in going the first six innings.
Isaac Vargas allowed four hits, struck out five batters and allowed two earned runs in absorbing the setback for the Brewers.
In the Brewers’ earlier 5-0 win over the Yankees, Vargas hit a grand slam home run and also cracked a solo home run to account for all five runs in the game while Armenta tossed a seven-inning two-hit shutout.
The Cardinals’ Chris Gesell led the league with eight regular season home runs while five players each picked up five round-trippers: Jake Alvarado (Cardinals), Armenta (Brewers), Tucker Toriano (Cardinals), Vargas (Brewers) and Daniel Nakano (Reds).
Chula Vista North will now prepare for all-star tournament play. The Pony Section-13 tournament will take place in Mira Mesa June 29 to July 2 while CV North will host the Pony Section-14 tournament June 30 to July 6.
CV North will field two teams in the nine-team tournament Pony-14 tournament. Joining them will be all-star teams representing Chula Vista South, National City, Paradise Hills, Sunshine, North City, Tecolote and La Jolla.
Chula Vista North Pony
Regular Season Standings
Red Sox 8-20
x-qualified for playoffs
Thursday, June 9
Cardinals 10, Reds 4
Friday, June 10
Brewers 5, Yankees 0
Saturday, June 11
Yankees 6, Reds 3
Brewers 5, Cardinals 4
Yankees 11, Cardinals 9
Sunday, June 12
Yankees 3, Brewers 1
Brewers 11, Yankees 4 (championship)
Jorge Llamas (coach)
Vico Moreno (coach)
Jason Guerro (coach)
Guy Jester Sr. (coach)
#3 - Dario Alvarez (13)
#1- Andrew Defante (13)
#15 - James Dunlap (14)
#9 - Gustavo Fimbres (14)
#14- Roman Martinez (14)
#13 - Enrique Mayer (14)
#12 - Kevin McCann (14)
#11 - Jose Melchor (14)
#2 - Anton Melendez (14)
#4 - Chris Miguel (14)
#7 - Riley Regala (13)
#6 - Andy Rios (14)
#5 - William Sanchez (13)
#8 - Michael Wade (13)
Manager- Joel Corona
Coach- Frank Martinez